WEST PARIS, Maine — A Maine State Police Trooper was justified in his use of deadly force during a shooting incident in West Paris in June, the Maine Attorney General’s Office concluded in a report released Tuesday.
On the evening of June 8, Trooper Jason Wing shot James Reynolds, 18, in an encounter on Roy Road in West Paris after responding to a call about an alleged burglary in the area.
According to the AG’s report, Reynolds pointed a hunting rifle directly at Wing before the trooper shot him three times, in the head, arm and leg, gravely wounding the teenager.
“Trooper Wing actually and reasonably believed that deadly force was imminently threatened against him, and it was reasonable for Trooper Wing to believe it was necessary to use deadly force to protect himself from the imminent threat of deadly force by Mr. Reynolds,” the report concludes.
On the evening of June 6, Trooper Wing responded to the vicinity of Roy Road in response to a report from a nearby resident of a suspicious person in the area, according to the report.
Trooper Wing was informed that the suspicious person, identified as Reynolds, was a known burglar who was prohibited from being on the road, and he was given a description of the suspect.
In a subsequent call to police, a mental health worker reported that Reynolds’ mother had reported him missing from the West Paris home they shared. Reynolds’ mother also reportedly told the mental health worker that her son suffered from mental health disorders, was a danger to himself and had attempted suicide in the past, according to the report. This information was also relayed to Wing, the report states.
Within half an hour of the original call, Wing observed Reynolds near a shed on the grounds of a seasonal residence on Roy Road. When Wing got out of his cruiser, the man disappeared behind the shed and reappeared with objects in both hands. Reynolds was too far away for Wing to know exactly what the objects were, according to the report.
Reynolds refused to obey a command from Wing to drop the objects and then displayed a rifle “scooped under his arm” and pointed at Wing, the report says.
After seeing the rifle, Wing drew his sidearm, sought cover near his cruiser and issued several other commands for Reynolds to drop the weapon. According to the report, Reynolds refused to heed Wing’s commands and leveled the weapon at the trooper and Wing discharged three rounds at Reynolds.
Reynolds was treated at the scene by Wing before being transported to a hospital by helicopter, according to the report.
During their investigation, detectives from the Attorney General’s Office found that Reynolds was brandishing a .35 caliber lever-action rifle during the confrontation. Although Reynolds was in possession of ammunition for the gun, it was not loaded and had a locking mechanism on it, according to the report.
The owner of the seasonal residence confirmed that the rifle, as well as other items in Reynolds’ possession at the time of the confrontation, had been stolen from the premises, according to the report.
This is the second shooting by Wing. In 2008, the Attorney General’s office found him justified in the use of deadly force when he fired three shots into a pickup truck driven by Lawrence Lapoint of Mexico. Lapoint was driving toward officers after allegedly trying to kill his domestic partner. No one was injured in that incident.