OLD TOWN, Maine — Members of several law enforcement agencies used a dog to track three suspects through woods Sunday after police received a report of gunshots fired near the junction of Route 16 and Southgate Road. Their pursuit brought them to a residence where they caught up with three boys age 9 to 14.
“All three were detained, and all were juveniles,” Old Town police Sgt. Travis Roy said.
Police discovered the boys allegedly were shooting a .22-caliber rifle in a gravel pit, and “at some point a vehicle was hit,” the sergeant said.
The 9-year-old boy’s mother, who asked not to be identified, said she had no clue police were searching the area until she glanced out her window.
“I just looked out my … sliding back door and saw a cop with a dog,” she said. “I had no idea” why he was there.
Her son and her 14-year-old stepson, who lives in LaGrange and has “been in trouble before,” and an 11-year-old friend from Old Town were playing in the pits.
“They asked me if they could go,” she said. “I knew they had the BB gun, but I didn’t know that they had the other two guns.”
Her 9-year-old son told her he told the older boys, “Don’t shoot,” but they did not listen, she said.
“My husband is a big hunter, so my son knows what’s right and wrong,” she said, adding her husband is not home because he is out of state getting cancer treatment.
The guns, including the BB gun, were taken by police as evidence, she said.
Police are not saying which one of the boys is suspected of shooting at a truck owned by a person working in the gravel pit near the junction of Route 16 and Southgate Road, Roy said.
Police also don’t know what the motive was, the sergeant said. “We’re still working on that.”
When the initial call to police was made at around 1:36 p.m., they were told the incident involved “three people with multiple guns,” Roy said, which triggered the multi-agency response.
Deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, Penobscot Nation Warden Service, Maine State Police and a U.S. Customs agent who heard the police scanner traffic gathered at the scene to assist Old Town police.
“The concern was who was it and why were they shooting,” Roy said Sunday afternoon. “We cordoned off the area. We called in a canine and tracked the suspects” to the residence on Southgate Road.
Roadblocks were set up on portions of Route 16 and Southgate Road, also known as Route 116, while officers searched the woods.
The canine unit tracked the boys from the gravel pit about a third of a mile through the woods to the Southgate Road home, Roy said, and the boys were detained at 2:35 p.m. Sunday.
Police interviewed the three boys and released them to their parents Sunday afternoon, but charges may be pending, Roy said.
“We need to do some follow-up interviews tomorrow,” he said. “There is still a lot of unanswered questions.”