Dispute over cigarette led to shots fired in Hudson, police say

Posted Aug. 16, 2012, at 6:16 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 16, 2012, at 9:45 p.m.

HUDSON, Maine — A dispute over a cigarette Thursday appears to have prompted a local man to fire two rounds of ammunition into the ground near where his stepson was standing, according to state police.

Maine State Police Lt. Wesley Hussey said no one was injured in the incident, which happened about 3:15 p.m. at a residence on Hudson Hill Road.

As of Thursday night, no one had been charged in connection with the incident, Maine State Police Sgt. David Millett said.

Millett said that information gathered by police Thursday afternoon and evening will be turned over to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office for consideration. He said potential charges include reckless conduct with a firearm.

According to Millett, state police and Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies were sent to 244 Hudson Hill Road after Josh Curtis, 26, of Kenduskeag reported that he had been shot at by his stepfather, 46-year-old Gerald Bernier.

Emergency dispatchers told Curtis to go to nearby Hudson Elementary School to await police, Millett said.

During the course of the subsequent investigation, police learned that the dispute between the two men was triggered by Curtis’ request for a cigarette.

“He called his stepfather to ask for a cigarette but the stepfather told him not to come over,” Millett said. When Curtis showed up at Bernier’s home regardless, Bernier reportedly took out a shotgun and fired two rounds into the ground near Curtis’ feet.

Millett said that the two men were standing 15 to 20 feet apart at the time and that it wasn’t clear how close the shots were to where Curtis was standing.

“It depends who you believe. There were a couple of different sides to the story,” Millett said.

Curtis was not struck, but he did have a small bruise on his arm that might have been caused by a flying rock or some other debris, Millett said.

Millett said the incident was “isolated” and that there was no threat to the public.

“Both the suspect and the alleged victim were completely cooperative,” the sergeant said, adding that there were many similarities in each man’s version of what took place.

Millett also said there were no indications that either man had been drinking.

Using a firearm during a domestic dispute “was probably not the smartest thing” on Bernier’s part, Millett said. “He should have called the police first.”

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