No charges to be filed after man shot in chest in Warren

Posted Sept. 20, 2012, at 12:31 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 20, 2012, at 3:52 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — There will be no charges filed in connection with an Aug. 7 incident in which a 47-year-old man was shot in the chest at a home in Warren.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said Thursday in a written statement that the decision to decline prosecution was based solely on the application of Maine law regarding the use of deadly force.

“The decision is not intended to and does not contain any opinion on whether other actions could have been taken which might have eliminated the need to use deadly force,” Rushlau stated.

The district attorney said it would be inappropriate to release the names of the people involved since no one was charged and they have privacy interests that could be affected by public disclosure.

The 47-year-old man had been staying at the residence of a 65-year-old man. The 19-year-old son of the older resident was home from college and staying at his father’s residence.

The two older men had been drinking and the 47-year-old became intoxicated and increasingly argumentative. The arguments eventually became physical, the prosecutor stated in his report.

The son had ignored the arguing until it became physical and he intervened to protect his father. The 47-year-old guest became more violent and irrational and threatened to kill the younger man.

The son went and got a .357-caliber revolver his father kept loaded in a closet and pointed it at the guest and ordered him to leave.

The guest approached the younger man and repeated that he would kill him and that is when the 19-year-old believed his life was in danger and fired the handgun once, striking the older man in the chest, the district attorney stated in his report.

The 19-year-old called 911. The 47-year-old man who had been shot continued to be aggressive despite his wound and had to be restrained by the homeowner until deputies from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office arrived.

Lt. Reginald Walker interviewed the father and son and their stories were consistent, according to Rushlau.

Walker then interviewed the 47-year-old at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Aug. 10 and the man said he did not recall being shot.

The man told the lieutenant that he did not want the youth charged because he was a “very good boy.”

The man who was shot had a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle, according to the district attorney’s statement.

The prosecutor commended Lt. Walker for his decision to defer making an arrest the day of the shooting.

“An arrest would have been lawful. Arrests can be made if an officer has probable cause, a relatively low level of proof. Officers can also defer making an arrest until their investigation has been completed,” Rushlau said. “The decision on whether to make an immediate arrest, or to defer arrest, can be a difficult one. The need to ensure public safety will frequently result in an immediate arrest even when an investigation is not complete. Lt. Walker exercised an appropriate degree of discretion when he concluded public safety would not be compromised while he completed his investigation.”

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