WINSLOW, Maine — When former state representative Susan Morissette arrived home Sunday night from a Mother’s Day outing with her four children and boyfriend, she saw her ex-husband armed with a loaded handgun and she knew there was going to be trouble, according to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.
Wilfred Morissette, 48, was intoxicated and carrying a .40-caliber Taurus handgun, the DA said.
“It was loaded with 15 hollow-point bullets,” Maloney said Tuesday. “Those are the ones that do serious damage.”
Susan Morissette, who is vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party, lives on First Street and Wilfred Morissette lives across the street. When she arrived home, he crossed the street carrying the gun and started to be confrontational, according to Maloney.
“Susan Morissette was able to get two of their teenage children into the house before Mr. Wilfred Morissette pointed the gun at anyone,” Maloney said. “Two [of the children] were outside and two were in the house.”
The children are ages 13 to 16.
The confrontation then escalated between Wilfred Morissette and his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Barry Sturk, who had called 911. Sturk is a licensed gun dealer and instructor and owns Tactical Advantage Co. of Belgrade.
“He was using profanity and he was challenging Mr. Sturk, calling him names,” Maloney said.
During the argument, Wilfred Morissette pointed his loaded handgun at his ex-wife and Sturk and “he also pointed the gun at the children,” the district attorney said.
Sturk said in a Tuesday phone interview that he has been around guns his entire life but never had a gun pulled on him over a relationship.
“This is the first time that I’ve been at the end of a barrel as part of a domestic violence situation,” he said. “I was fairly concerned.”
After Sturk got out of a vehicle at the residence, one of Morissette’s sons came up behind him, he said and his father called to the teen, telling him to come out of hiding.
“He was my No. 1 priority,” Sturk said, referring to the youngster. “He [Wilfred Morissette] started hollering his name and telling him to come out and all this. He started his way down the stairs in our direction. He was just being aggressive and confrontational. I immediately dialed 911. It was the first time I had to do that. It seemed like it took forever.”
He also took a couple of photos with a camera that was sitting on the dashboard after being used by the couple at the Mother’s Day picnic the group had enjoyed earlier in the day.
“It’s given me a completely different perspective [on armed domestic violence situations],” Sturk said.
Police arrived very quickly, parked down the street and after running behind some parked cars, tackled Wilfred Morissette, the gun shop owner said. Morissette was arrested on six felony charges, two counts of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and four counts of domestic violence criminal threatening, one for each victim, Maloney said.
Morrissette will have his first court appearance Wednesday in Waterville District Court.
“I’ll be arguing that the bail be substantial,” Maloney said.
She is requesting a $10,000 cash bail with conditions he not possess weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs; be subject to a nighttime curfew and random searches; and have no contact with Susan Morissette, their four children or Barry Sturk, or be within 100 yards of his ex-wife’s residence, which would include his home, the district attorney said.
“If the court agrees with that request, that would mean [he would have to move temporarily],” Maloney said.
Wilfred Morissette was taken to Kennebec County Jail in Augusta and remained there on Tuesday, a jail official said. A Tuesday message left for Susan Morissette at her home was not immediately returned.
Susan Morissette served House District 54 for one term and lost a bid for re-election in 2012 by 52 votes.
“Nobody was physically injured, but [there may be] psychological and emotional injuries,” Maloney said. “They definitely felt like their life was in danger.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.