“UNRAVELING CHAOS!” Independent Commission Probes Police Response to Maine’s Deadliest Shooting


LEWISTON, Maine – An independent commission will investigate problems with police communication and coordination in the chaotic hours following Maine’s bloodiest mass shooting on Friday, and it intends to hear further testimony from law enforcement sources.

Well-meaning officers causing mayhem by showing up without being asked, as well as officers suspected of arriving intoxicated in a tactical vehicle, are among the “disturbing allegations” brought before the commission, Chair Daniel Wathen stated last week. The information were revealed in an after-action report issued by police in Portland, Maine, roughly a 45-minute drive south of Lewiston where the incident occurred.

However, it is unclear what agenda items will be discussed at Friday’s meeting. Wathen stated that some of the issues raised in the report fell outside the scope of the commission’s work and would be best handled by police supervisors.

An Army reservist killed 18 people and injured 13 at a bowling alley and a pub and grill in Lewiston. The shooter fled the scene in an abandoned vehicle in a neighboring town.

The commission had previously heard testimony from law enforcement officials regarding the evening of October 25, when law enforcement agencies mobilized for a search as more police officers poured into the area. State Police took over coordination of the search for the gunman, who was discovered dead by suicide two days later.

Some of the most anxious moments occurred when law police spotted the gunman’s vehicle many hours after the shooting.

State police took a careful approach, which enraged several cops who wanted to instantly search the neighboring forests. Well-intentioned police officers with no official assignment began arriving up, prompting fears of cops shooting at each other in the dark. The large number of officers there further polluted the area, making it nearly difficult to trace down the gunman with dogs.

A tactical vehicle from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office nearly collided with another tactical vehicle from the Portland Police Department near the incident. A Portland Police Department after-action report suggested that the Cumberland County vehicle’s occupants had been drinking, but the sheriff claimed that his deputies were intoxicated.

Representatives from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the Portland Police Department announced they would not send officers to testify Friday.

The governor appointed the group, which is made up of seven members, including mental health professionals, former prosecutors, and judges. Wathen is a former Maine Chief Justice.

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