Fairfield, Winslow union halls both shot up in BB gun attacks

Posted Feb. 13, 2013, at 9:43 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 14, 2013, at 7:25 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two union halls in Fairfield and Winslow were shot up by BB guns, apparently in drive-by fashion, within the last four days.

This is not the first time either union office building has has been shot up. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall at 176 Main St. in Fairfield was the target of a drive-by shooting back on Nov. 29 by someone firing .22-caliber bullets. No suspects have been charged in that incident.

“I can’t determine for sure if the two cases are related,” said Fairfield police Sgt. Paul St. Amand. “They may be linked or totally unrelated.

“We had no other reports of any other buildings that were shot at, and there have been no recent firings, or threats made against the union.”

That Fairfield shooting occurred at about the same time the United Steelworkers International Union Local 449 hall in Winslow was vandalized by someone shooting a BB gun. Winslow police said the last incident occurred a few months ago, but weren’t sure on the exact date.

“I would have to refer to the local union reps, but I think it might have been back in late November,” said Duane Lugdon, international representative for United Steelworkers.

This time around, the two incidents happened within a four-day period.

“Sometime between Friday evening and Sunday at 11:35 is when it happened [in Fairfield],” said St. Amand.

A cleaning lady discovered the damage when she entered the IBEW Local 1253 building late Sunday morning and soon after notified a union member, who called Fairfield police.

“Five windows were destroyed. Some of them are brand new ones they had put in after the last shooting,” said St. Amand. “We know it was a BB gun because in some cases the BB’s were caught between the windowpanes.”

St. Amand said the investigation is active and police are waiting for more leads after gathering all the evidence they could from the building and evaluating video surveillance footage taken from nearby locations.

No footprints were found despite the weekend snowfall.

“There were no tracks because things were discovered Sunday morning with new snowfall on top of it, plow activity and foot traffic,” said St. Amand. “We can’t tell if the person or persons were on foot or driving because the building is on a corner and borders two roads.”

In the case of the Local 449 steelworkers office at 577 Benton Ave. in Winslow, the damage was confined mostly to a large front window and the facade of the building.

“Some glass windows were damaged or destroyed and Officer Ron McGowen estimated the damage to be around $400,” said Winslow police Sgt. Haley Fleming, reading from McGowen’s preliminary report Wednesday evening.

Union reps called to report the damage in Winslow at 10:46 a.m. on Tuesday.

“The vice president for United Steelworkers Union said he believed it was a political thing,” Haley said.

McGowen observed evidence of at least 10 BB shots.

“That would mean something involving a personal grudge,” Haley said. “The BBs appeared to be shot from different angles, which is indicative of a drive-by shooting from a vehicle.”

Haley said it was also determined that the projectiles used were CO2-powered BB’s.

Lugdon, who lives in Old Town and serves as the local Maine rep for the national union, said it’s not unusual for people to have various feelings about unions.

“We represent employees with various problems and sometimes we can help them with those problems, but sometimes we have to conclude we cannot help them,” Lugdon said. “And sometimes someone is upset with us if we can’t resolve a situation for them. We’re suspecting here that whoever is guilty of this has some kind of animosity toward us.”

Lugdon said no suspects were identified from the previous BB vandalism incident either.

“At that point, we thought it was just mischievous,” Lugdon said. “Now it seems like we’re being targeted.”

In both cases, police are asking for the public’s help in providing leads and tips, either from anything they witnessed or heard about.

Information about the Winslow union hall shooting can be provided by calling 872-5215.

Information about the Fairfield shooting can be provided by calling 453-9321. Tips can be made anonymously in both cases.

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