Burglary, theft charges pending against West Paris man shot by state trooper

Posted June 14, 2013, at 12:52 p.m.

WEST PARIS — A young man who was shot three times by a Maine State Police trooper Saturday night remained hospitalized at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Thursday.

A nursing supervisor said Tuesday that James Reynolds, 18, of Sumner Road was listed in critical condition. Since then, his family told the hospital they did not want information released, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Reynolds’ grandmother, Eleanor Paine of Sumner Road, said Tuesday that her grandson had suffered a brain injury in the police shooting, as well as a shattered arm and a shattered kneecap.

She declined further comment, saying the family’s lawyer advised her not to speak to the media.

Maine State Police Sgt. Mike Edes said Thursday that state police would press charges against Reynolds, pending completion of an investigation into burglary and theft of a hunting rifle, ammunition and beer early Saturday evening at a seasonal residence on Roy Road owned by Charles Coughlin of Franklin, Mass.

Edes said the confrontation between Trooper Jason Wing and Reynolds happened on Coughlin’s property. At the time, he said, Reynolds was armed with Coughlin’s .35-caliber, lever-action Marlin hunting rifle with a scope. Police didn’t know the rifle was Coughlin’s until they began investigating the burglary.

Edes said he couldn’t talk about the shooting, which happened at about 6:30 p.m., because that is being investigated by the Maine Attorney General’s Office. It’s standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.

State police and Oxford County dispatch transcripts of the complaint and police response are not being released, pending the AG investigation, dispatchers said Tuesday.

Edes said state police received a call at 6:12 p.m. Saturday about a suspicious person on Roy Road. It is a dead-end, dirt road off Abbott Hill Road a short drive from Route 219 and less than a mile from where Reynolds lived with his mother, Julie Reynolds.

Wing began his shift that day at 3 p.m. and was patrolling in the area when the call came in. He was assigned to investigate the complaint. Edes, who was Wing’s shift supervisor that day, was at a meeting in Portland.

Edes said Wing found fresh footprints on Roy Road and followed them to Coughlin’s property where he met James Reynolds. He said the burglary had occurred just prior to the confrontation.

After the confrontation, state and county police were called to assist. Edes said he was notified at 6:35 p.m.

“My guys were in close proximity and responded as backup units,” Oxford County Chief Deputy Hart Daley said. On Monday, he released the Sheriff’s Office log of the incident. According to the log, the deputies were not called to the scene until 6:45 p.m. at the earliest. The first county officer arrived five minutes later.

In his brief narrative in the log, Deputy Sheriff William Nelson said he assisted state police with the call.

“Trooper shot suspect before my arrival,” Nelson said. “I assisted with handcuffing him and treating him medically.”

Edes said it’s standard procedure for officers to handcuff a suspect even after they’ve been shot. He said it’s a security issue to protect the suspect and officers “until the fight is completely gone from somebody.”

He said that after Reynolds was shot by Wing and handcuffed by Nelson, “(Reynolds) was still alive, still breathing.”

Edes said he had no problem with what the officers did procedurally, after the shooting.

The officers began investigating the break-in at Coughlin’s cabin. Edes said police asked Coughlin, “Did you have any liquor in the refrigerator? And he said, ‘Yes, four cans of Bud Light.’”

Edes said the officers asked because Reynolds had four cold cans of Budweiser Light in the backpack he was wearing.

Additionally, due to previous break-ins, Coughlin had written down the serial numbers for everything he kept at his residence, including his rifles, Edes said.

He said one of the numbers matched the one on the high-powered hunting rifle that Reynolds was carrying.

“So we were able to draw a straight line from the burglary to Reynolds,” Edes said.

It’s not illegal for people in Maine to openly carry weapons and hunting rifles, but Edes said, no hunting season, such as deer season, is underway in which such a high-powered rifle would be used.

Edes said police are trained to use deadly force to protect themselves and others from what they believe is imminent danger.

Edes said he didn’t know whether Reynolds has a criminal history.

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