YORK, Maine — The Department of Justice on Monday charged two men in connection with a May 10 shooting that took place in York, while the FBI is investigating a similar shooting that wounded a man over the weekend.
Eric Mercado, 32, of Lowell, Massachusetts, and Steven Hardy, 42, of Maynard, Massachusetts, were charged Monday by criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court with conspiring to interfere with commerce by robbery.
Though York police on Monday did not confirm nor deny that the two cases took place at the same residence or involved the same victim, referring all inquiries to the FBI, neighbors say the shootings took place at the same Rowe Falls Lane address. In Saturday’s incident, York police said a man suffered a gunshot wound that wasn’t life-threatening at approximately 12:30 a.m. The FBI has not released any additional information.
York police Chief Charles Szeniawski said two suspects fled from the scene Saturday and were being sought, adding that it was a “victim-specific” crime.
According to the criminal complaint regarding the May 10 incident, Hardy and others drove from outside of Maine to a residence in York to commit an armed home invasion robbery to steal marijuana and marijuana sales proceeds. The men entered the undisclosed residence wearing face masks and armed with firearms, which U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank said Monday were fired during the attempted robbery. The two men subsequently fled, authorities said.
Mercardo was arrested in Georgia, while Hardy was arrested in Maynard, Massachusetts. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Mercardo’s initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Georgia, and Hardy’s initial appearance in Worcester, Massachusetts, have not yet been scheduled.
Frank said the ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI, in conjunction with the York Police Department.
Neither the victim nor the specific address have been identified by authorities. In the May incident, which occurred at 1:30 a.m., the victim sustained wounds to his lower leg and foot. A suspect in that shooting, Nathaniel Rivera of Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, turned himself in to the York County Superior Court several days later. Additional suspects were being sought at the time.
A man who answered the door at the Rowe Falls Lane residence identified by neighbors in the area said the owner was not home, and said he was taking care of the owner’s dogs.
Rowe Falls Lane is off Mill Lane in a quiet neighborhood of homes in a rural part of York. People in the neighborhood are deeply concerned about the two shootings but unwilling to give their names for fear of retribution or mistaken identity.
“They say this is an isolated incident and that there’s no threat to the public,” one man said. “But there is a threat to me and my neighbors and we are the public, too. I’m deeply concerned about this.”
Neighbors said the man who lives at the Rowe Falls Lane residence where the incidents occurred has visitors who come to his house late into the night. A couple of neighbors described loud parties that have taken place there periodically, as well.
After the incident Saturday, they said, the area was swarming with FBI agents, who interviewed a number of them. A mobile crime laboratory was also set up at the scene, they said.
“This is a very isolated neighborhood,” one woman said. “I’ve lived here for 30 years, and it’s always been very quiet. I have two grandkids who are here all the time, and I’m concerned if something funky is going on there. What if things get out of control?”
They also expressed concern that because the area is so rural, someone looking for the Rowe Falls Lane address could pull into one of their homes by mistake, especially at night.
“You can’t help but think about that,” a neighbor said, “so I hope they do something about this situation.”