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A Cumberland County man who accidentally shot himself in Westbrook earlier this month was charged with violating one of the governor’s coronavirus-inspired executive orders.
Alexander Burnham, 21, of Portland, was identified Wednesday as the man who was shot on Central Street at about 12:40 p.m. on April 7. Westbrook police who responded learned shortly after arriving on the scene that a Portland Fire Department ambulance had taken Burnham to the Maine Medical Center Urgent Care Plus in Portland. His injuries were not life-threatening, Westbrook police said in a statement.
Westbrook police alleged in charges filed Tuesday that Burnham violated his probation by carrying the gun he accidentally shot himself with and during the incident violated the governor’s order, a Class E offense which mandates that Mainers stay home except to shop for necessities or to go to jobs deemed essential.
Burnham was charged with three counts of Class A aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs and single counts of Class C illegal possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and Class E failure to comply with the governor’s executive order.
Police alleged that Burnham is a convicted felon who violated his probation by carrying the gun. He is being held at the Cumberland County Jail, police said.
Class E crimes carry punishments of as many as six months incarceration and a $1,000 fine. Police consulted with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office before filing the charges, Westbrook Police Department Capt. Steven Goldberg said in the statement.
From March 6 to April 20, seven of 13 arrests or summonses issued by Westbrook police included the charge, the Portland Press Herald reported Wednesday.
Issued March 31, Mills’ order put Maine among a majority of states that took similar action to fight the coronavirus. The governor mandated that Mainers not leave home except for essential jobs or purchases, though they can exercise outdoors while keeping at least 6 feet from people outside their household.
Businesses including grocery stores, pharmacies and health care providers have been allowed to stay open. People can travel to care for family. The order, which went into effect on April 2, limits the use of public transportation for anything but essential purposes and limits vehicle travel to people in the same household.
Portland and South Portland issued similar orders the week before Mills’ that include fines for people caught violating the order. A governor’s emergency orders can be enforced by police and violations can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor crime. Mills said at the time that she hoped compliance would be voluntary.
Coronavirus has hit Cumberland County hard. Of the state’s 907 coronavirus cases confirmed in all of Maine’s counties on Wednesday, 395 cases have been confirmed in Cumberland. That’s where the bulk of deaths from the virus — 18 — have been concentrated. It is one of four counties — Androscoggin, Penobscot and York, with 36, 47 and 185 cases, respectively — where “community transmission” has been confirmed, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.