Maine AG: Officers' use of force justified in 3 separate shootings
The AG's office has never found an officer-involved shooting in Maine to be unjustified
By Gillian Graham
Portland Press Herald
LIMERICK, Maine — Three police officers, including one who fatally shot a 16-year-old armed robbery suspect in Limerick, were justified in their use of deadly force, the Maine Attorney General's Office announced Friday.
Attorney General Aaron Frey released the results of separate investigations and legal reviews into the Limerick shooting, the death of a Lewiston man in 2019 and the fatal shooting of a man at a Newport campground who had reportedly been holding children hostage last summer.
The AG's office has never found an officer-involved shooting in Maine to be unjustified.
Frey determined York County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Carr was acting in self-defense when he shot Christopher Camacho at the Dollar General store where Camacho held an employee at gunpoint.
The confrontation began around 7 p.m. Dec. 27, 2019, when the Sanford Regional Communications Center received multiple 911 calls from Dollar General employees who said a man with a gun and a knife was holding an employee at gunpoint after making the employee bind his wrists together with duct tape, according to Frey's report.
One employee told dispatchers that the suspect had a machete to his throat, was holding him at gunpoint and instructed him to call 911. When Carr arrived, a customer leaving the store said the armed suspect was pointing a gun at the employee at the front register.
As Carr entered the store, the suspect turned his gun on the deputy, according to the report. Carr fired two rounds at the suspect. One bullet struck Camacho in the neck.
Investigators later determined Camacho was armed with a revolver-style pellet gun and a machete with an 18-inch blade.
Camacho was a student at Massabesic High School in Waterboro.
Frey also concluded that Penobscot County Deputy Kenneth York believed that 35-year-old Stephen Bossom was about to shoot him or Deputy John McEwen at Sebasticook Lake Campground in Newport on July 15, 2022. The deputies were responding to a possible active shooter situation when they encountered Bossom, who had been staying at the campground with his family.
While looking for an active shooter, McEwen encountered a man holding a handgun with blood on his face.
Bossom ignored repeated commands to put down the gun, instead waving the gun around and demanding the deputy identify himself, according to the report.
Bossom, who worked part-time at the campground, told McEwen to shoot him as the deputy continued to tell him to drop the gun. Bossom then said he believed there was an active shooter and that he did not believe McEwen was the police, according to the report.
York, who arrived at the campground after McEwen, shot Bossom after he raised his gun and pointed it directly at the deputy, Frey wrote in the report. A camper captured the confrontation on video.
The AG's office also released its conclusions about a shooting in Lewiston on Aug. 5, 2019, by Lewiston Officer Jeffrey Burkhardt.
Burkhardt fired a single shot in the direction of 51-year-old Kevin Harvey, who had fired his gun during an argument with his girlfriend and run into the woods near Robinson Gardens. Police closed the road, evacuated the neighborhood and called a negotiator to try to contact the man.
After a perimeter was set up, Burkhardt and Officer Anthony Zawistowski walked about 50 yards into the woods behind Harvey's house. As they walked back toward the house, they heard a gunshot and Burkhardt saw a man lying on the ground and looking in their direction. Believing the man had shot at them, Burkhardt fired a round from his AR15 rifle, according to the report.
When the man did not respond to instructions to show his hands, the officers approached and found Harvey with a fatal injury to his head and a handgun next to him on the ground, according to the report. It was later determined that Harvey died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during the incident and was not hit by the bullet from Burkhardt's gun.
Following the investigation, Frey concluded that Burkhardt believed Harvey was shooting at him and another officer when Harvey fired his gun. An autopsy determined that Harvey's death was a suicide.
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