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Sheriff Had Cause To Take Maine Shooter Into Custody Beforehand, Review Finds

  The local sheriff’s office could have taken the gunman who carried out a deadly shooting in   Maine   last fall into custody before the sh...

 The local sheriff’s office could have taken the gunman who carried out a deadly shooting in Maine last fall into custody before the shooting happened, a review of the incident has found.

A commission reviewing the events around the October 25 shooting, which left 18 people dead in Lewiston, Maine, concluded that local law enforcement could have taken the shooter into protective custody and seized his weapons prior to the shooting.

The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office “had probable cause to believe that [the shooter] posed a likelihood of serious harm,” the seven-member commission said in its preliminary report released on Friday.

The commission said it found unanimously that the sheriff’s office had “sufficient probable cause to take [the shooter] into protective custody under Maine’s Yellow Flag law and to remove his firearms and that the SCSO had probable cause to believe that [he] posed a likelihood of serious harm.”

Maine’s yellow flag law allows police to strip weapons from people who are deemed to pose a risk.

Before the shooting, the shooter, an army reservist, reportedly behaved increasingly erratically and was paranoid and believed strangers were calling him a pedophile. He was sent for a mental health evaluation by his Army Reserve colleagues and supervisors last summer. Family members raised concerns as well. However, attempts to take away his firearms were not successful.

He was found dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound two days after his deadly rampage.


The shooter “is solely responsible for his own conduct, and he may have committed a mass shooting even if the guns he possessed in September 2023 were removed from his house,” the report stated. “Nevertheless, there were several opportunities that, if taken, may have changed the course of events.”

The report points the finger specifically at Sergeant Aaron Skolfield, who responded to a report that the shooter was suffering from some sort of mental health crisis and had recently assaulted a friend.

Skolfield “should have realized that he had probable cause to start the Yellow Flag process” for the shooter, but instead he made “limited attempts” to get an in-person meeting with him, failed to consult a previous complaint about the shooter, failed to contact the individual who was assaulted by him and had heard him threaten to shoot up the Saco Armory, and failed to ask for help from prosecutors or other law enforcement agencies.

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