Man killed in Portland shooting was involved in fatal car accident last month, family of survivor says

Portland Police officers gather outside a brick apartment building at 105/107 India Street Wednesday morning, July 11, after an overnight shooting left one dead. The sidewalk had what appeared to be blood drops covering several yards up toward the corner of India and Congress Street.
Portland Police officers gather outside a brick apartment building at 105/107 India Street Wednesday morning, July 11, after an overnight shooting left one dead. The sidewalk had what appeared to be blood drops covering several yards up toward the corner of India and Congress Street.
Posted July 11, 2012, at 6:53 a.m.
Last modified July 11, 2012, at 2:06 p.m.

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PORTLAND, Maine — Matthew Blanchard, 24, of South Portland was the man killed in an early Wednesday morning triple shooting in Portland, according to reports.

The uncle of one of the survivors, 20-year-old John Howard, told WGME-TV that his nephew, Blanchard and the third victim, 24-year-old Josh Hersom, were out for a late walk when they were attacked.

Logan Ridge-Howard told WGME Blanchard was the individual killed in the incident, which took place when the three victims stopped to rest while walking along India Street.

The Portland Police Department has not confirmed the identifications of the victims.

Blanchard was facing felony charges for his role in a fatal June 22 car crash, in which he was allegedly driving a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license at the time of the one-car accident. The car’s passenger, Casey Green, 22, died after the vehicle went off Route 100 in Falmouth and struck a tree.

A woman who said she heard the fatal shooting in Portland early Wednesday morning said the gunfire was followed by a “thick scream.”

One person was killed and two others were injured in the early morning shooting at the intersection of India and Congress streets, according to police.

Aubin Thomas, 25, who lives near the intersection of Smith and Congress streets, said she was trying to go to sleep when the shooting occurred around 1 a.m.

“I heard five bangs in quick succession and then a guttural scream and someone yell, ‘call 911,’” she told the BDN Wednesday morning. “It was a thick scream. I think that’s why I remember it. It wasn’t happy or excited, it was thick.”

Thomas said she assumed the commotion was from a fireworks accident, as people have been blasting off the explosives frequently in recent weeks.

Ian Harriman, 31, lives in the area and he also told the BDN he initially believed the loud noises were the result of fireworks.

“I woke up when I heard the shots, and I looked at the clock and it was around one,” Harriman said. “I thought it was just fireworks, with the bars getting out.”

Four people were at the scene when officers arrived, including the victims. One victim died at the hospital, while two others were admitted with injuries Chief Michael Sauschuck describes as non-life threatening.

No names were made public but Sauschuck said the victims were all adult men.

Sauschuck told WCSH-TV that police are looking into reports of two black males who ran from the scene in a westerly direction down Congress Street. The Portland television station reported the police took a small black bicycle from the scene as evidence, as well as two large paper bags of other evidence collected there.

Thomas said the incident is a shock because her neighborhood is considered a safe one. She said she has been living there for more than a year, and chose it over other areas of the city she viewed as more dangerous.

“When a car backfires or something, you think, ‘Oh, it could be a gunshot,’ but then I think, ‘But this is Portland,’” she said. “Every so often you’ll see news about a knife attack or a beating, but you never hear about shootings around here.”

Thomas said the notion that the shooter or shooters have not been caught “adds another level of creepiness to it.”

Kristy Johnson, 30, a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, said she has never felt unsafe. As she walked with her three children down India Street late Monday morning Johnson said she had just heard of the shooting.

“I’m shocked,” she said. “You never think this will happen. It’s just really sad and unfortunate.”

Despite the fatal shooting, Johnson said she still considers the area to be safe.

By 8 a.m. Wednesday, India Street was open, but there were several yards worth of blood drops on the sidewalk leading up to Congress Street. Police were gathered outside a brick apartment building at 105/107 India Street.

BDN photographer Troy Bennett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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