MACHIAS, Maine — A rookie Washington County deputy has been suspended and is facing a court hearing and an internal affairs’ investigation after he was served with a protection from abuse order Wednesday, according to the sheriff.
Scott Francis, 33, of Calais has been a county deputy for five months, Sheriff Donnie Smith said Friday.
Previously, Francis was a Passamaquoddy game warden at Indian Township and was involved in the May 2008 fatal shooting there of Douglas Kelley, who was intoxicated and brandishing a handgun. Two months later, the Attorney General’s Office found that Francis and Indian Township Officer Alexander Nicholas were justified in using deadly force at the incident.
Smith said that the current investigation and protection from abuse order were not related to any arrest or complaint to law enforcement. “There was no call for help [from the victim],” Smith said.
Smith said Francis has been having marital difficulties and a divorce is pending.
His estranged wife sought and obtained the temporary restraining order last week and once it was served Wednesday, Francis was immediately placed on paid leave. A condition of the order was that Francis not possess any firearms.
Without a weapon, Francis cannot do his job, said Smith.
The details of the fatal shooting Francis was involved in were previously released by the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the report, on Monday, May 12, 2008, at approximately 5 p.m., Douglas Kelley drove his vehicle to the home of his recent former girlfriend in Indian Township. At the residence were the girlfriend, two other adults and two infant children.
Kelley told the girlfriend that he had been “kicked off the reservation” and that he was not supposed to be at her residence. Kelley pointed the gun at the girlfriend. The girlfriend and the others at the residence went into the house, locked the doors and windows, and placed the infant children in a back bedroom. They called police.
Kelley remained outside and fired his gun into nearby woods. Several officers, including Francis, responded and saw Kelley with the handgun.
Francis went into a wooded area behind the girlfriend’s residence where he could clearly see Kelley sitting on a large boulder.
After repeatedly being ordered to drop his gun, Kelley swore and pointed the gun at Nicholas. Offers of help for Kelley were rebuffed and Kelley put the handgun to the side of his head. He then pointed the gun at Nicholas again. Nicholas warned he was going to shoot. Nicholas attempted to fire his weapon at Kelley, but his weapon did not fire. Another officer was ordered to fire and shot three times, striking Kelley in the abdomen and leg.
Francis fired a single shot from a rifle, hitting Kelley in the back of the head. Kelley died at the scene and his blood alcohol level was later determined to be 0.34 percent — more than four times the legal limit for operating a vehicle.
On Friday, Smith said this week’s temporary protection order also triggered an internal investigation.
“This certainly did warrant an investigation,” Smith said. “That investigation is completely separate from the permanent protection order hearing, which is set for next Tuesday, and our investigation will be completed by February 25.”
Smith said that if the temporary order were made permanent by the court, Francis would be terminated immediately. The internal investigation will continue, however, per department policy.