The Maine attorney general’s office has found that Somerset County officers acted in self-defense when they shot and killed a Madison man on July 5, 2017, after Carroll Tuttle Jr., 51, had slain three people in an early morning rampage.
In a report released Tuesday, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said that Somerset County deputies James Ross and Joseph Jackson and detective Michael Ross were justified in using deadly force against Tuttle.
Tuttle fatally shot his longtime domestic partner, Lori Hayden, 52, and their 25-year-old son, Dustin Tuttle, at the couple’s 316 Russell Road home that morning before crossing the street to shoot Michael Spaulding, 57, the report said.
Somerset County deputies began responding to the area at 7:37 a.m. on July 5, 2017, when a woman visiting Spaulding called to report that a man had shot Spaulding and driven off in a silver pickup truck, the report said. About 10 minutes later, a Norridgewock woman called 911 and reported that her daughter had seen Tuttle shoot Hayden and Dustin Tuttle.
James Ross and Michael Ross went to the Spaulding residence on Russell Road, the report said. While there, Harvey Austin arrived and asked officers to check on Hayden, his sister-in-law. They found Hayden dead on the living room floor and Dustin Tuttle dead on a bed in the trailer where they’d lived with Tuttle.
James Ross and Austin began walking down Tuttle’s driveway when they saw him speeding down Russell Road, the report said. Tuttle pulled into his driveway, swore at Austin and pointed a handgun out the window of his truck. As he opened the driver’s side door, Tuttle shot Austin.
James Ross, Michael Ross and Jackson all shot Tuttle as he was firing at Austin, according to the report. Tuttle died at the scene. Austin was shot twice but survived.
The eight bullets and two bullet fragments removed from Tuttle’s body were consistent with the 9 mm and .45 caliber ammunition used by the officers.
The Maine attorney general’s office investigates Maine police officers’ use of deadly force to determine whether they were legally justified in firing their service weapons.
In its more than 100 reviews of police use of deadly force since 1990, the attorney general’s office has never found that an officer was not justified in his or her actions.