Police track leads in shooting near motorcycle club

Posted Oct. 09, 2009, at 7:40 p.m.

CANAAN, Maine — Police are investigating multiple leads after a Madison man was shot Thursday evening outside a Hell’s Angels motorcycle club on Route 23, which is known locally as Hinckley Road.

Gary Watson, 63, was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he underwent surgery overnight, according to Lt. Gary Wright, who heads the criminal division for the Maine State Police. Wright said Watson was in “critical but stable condition” Friday night.

A neighbor of the motorcycle club called 911 at 5:36 p.m. to report shots fired, said Wright. That neighbor, who declined to be identified in the newspaper because she “doesn’t want trouble” with anyone involved in the incident, told the Bangor Daily News on Friday that she had just finished supper when she heard “at least six shots.”

The woman, who at first assumed the shots were fired by hunters or someone sighting in a gun, said she left her home, yelling to whoever could hear her that the shots were too close. That’s when she heard tires squealing and saw Watson’s truck parked across the centerline of Hinckley Road. The woman said she knows Watson and recognized his black Dodge Dakota. Neighbors said Watson is seen frequently at the property and may reside there or be a caretaker for the property.

“No one was helping him so I drove my car up there,” said the woman. “I asked him if there was a gun involved, and he nodded yes. He couldn’t talk. He didn’t look good at all.”

The woman said two motorists stopped to help and that she called police using her cell phone. She said she saw multiple holes in the rear window and driver’s side mirror of Watson’s truck, which appeared to be bullet holes, and that it appeared that Watson had been shot in the neck.

The motorcycle club building, which neighbors say is a former butcher shop, is set back from the road behind a chain-link fence with a heavy gate blocking the driveway. On Friday, the dirt driveway outside the gate was marked with orange and white spray-painted lines that apparently had been applied by investigators. A pair of spinout marks caused by the tires of a vehicle also could be seen.

Wright said the shooting took place outside the gate that blocks the driveway and that Watson was in his truck when he was shot. Detectives believe the suspect or suspects fled the scene in a vehicle traveling south on Hinckley Road toward Hinckley.

“We have information from different people coming in that may have a bearing on the investigation,” said Wright. “We certainly aren’t overlooking the fact that it might be related to another rival motorcycle gang. That’s something to consider based on the circumstances.”

Wright said the involvement of another gang is one of several scenarios being investigated, but he declined to say whether there is evidence that establishes that link.

“We’re not going to release a lot of details at this point,” said Wright. Hinckley Road was blocked with the help of Fairfield and Clinton police officers until about 4 a.m. Friday, Wright said.

The woman who called 911 and her husband described Watson as a friendly person “who liked to talk about the world.” They said they had never had a problem with the nearby motorcycle club, which they estimated had been in operation for five years. Its members have always been “quiet and respectful,” said the neighbors.

Lt. Wright urged anyone who was in the area of the shooting Thursday evening to contact a Maine State Police detective by calling 624-7076.

“We need people to call if they have any information about vehicles or individuals in that driveway or in the vicinity,” said Wright.

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