Police response to Maine mass shooting gets deeper scrutiny from independent panel - Hindustan Times
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Police response to Maine mass shooting gets deeper scrutiny from independent panel

AP |
May 24, 2024 09:53 AM IST

Police response to Maine mass shooting gets deeper scrutiny from independent panel

LEWISTON, Maine — Problems with police communication and coordination in the fraught hours after Maine’s deadliest mass shooting will be under scrutiny Friday from an independent commission, which plans to hear more testimony from law enforcement sources.

Police response to Maine mass shooting gets deeper scrutiny from independent panel
Police response to Maine mass shooting gets deeper scrutiny from independent panel

Well-meaning officers creating chaos by showing up without being asked and officers believed to have arrived intoxicated in a tactical vehicle are among the “disturbing allegations” that have come before the commission, Chair Daniel Wathen said last week.

The details were outlined in an after-action report by police in Portland, Maine, which is about a 45-minute drive south of where the shooting took place in Lewiston.

However, it’s unclear exactly what’s on the table for Friday’s meeting. Wathen said some of the things contained in the report were outside the scope of the commission’s work and best handled by police supervisors.

Eighteen people were killed and 13 injured by an Army reservist at a bowling alley and a bar and grill in Lewiston. The shooter fled the scene in a vehicle that was abandoned in a nearby town.

The commission previously heard testimony from law enforcement officials about the evening of Oct. 25, when law enforcement agencies mobilized for a search as additional police officers poured into the region. State Police took over coordination of the search for the gunman, whose body was found dead from suicide two days later.

Some of the tense moments came when law enforcement located the gunman's vehicle several hours after the shooting.

State police used a cautious approach, angering some officers who wanted to immediately search the nearby woods. Well-meaning police officers without any official assignment began showing up, raising concerns of police firing on each other in the darkness. The arrival of so many officers also contaminated the scene, making it all but impossible to use dogs to track the gunman.

At one point, a tactical vehicle from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office nearly crashed into another tactical vehicle from the Portland Police Department near that scene. A Portland Police Department after-action report suggested the occupants of the Cumberland County vehicle had been drinking but the sheriff denied that his deputies were intoxicated.

Representatives of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Department said they weren’t sending officers to testify Friday.

The commission was appointed by the governor and is comprised of seven members including mental health professionals and former prosecutors and judges. Wathen is a former Maine chief justice.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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