On the day that Katherine Paulson was shot and killed by a Kennebunk police officer, her mother told her she had to get on medication, call a doctor or voluntarily go somewhere to get help for her mental health problems, according to information from the state Attorney General’s Office.

Paulson, 39, was killed on March 27 by a police officer who was sent to her home because her mother reported a non-physical domestic disturbance.

An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office showed in August that Officer Joshua Morneau was legally justified in using deadly force against Paulson, who pulled a kitchen knife and advanced toward him as he fired at her four times.

The office investigates all use of deadly force by police to determine whether self-defense or the defense of others rules out criminal prosecution.

Additional information about Paulson’s mental health history and the events leading to the shooting were in materials released to The Portland Press Herald in response to a Freedom of Access Act request.

Carol Paulson said that her daughter stopped taking medication when they moved to Kennebunk from Massachusetts in April 2009, and that she suffered mood swings as a result, according to a summary of an interview with a state police detective.

Katherine Paulson’s psychiatric diagnosis was unknown, but Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Michael Ferenc described her actions as consistent with a mental illness that could involve a mood disorder subject to a loss of mental control, according to the investigative findings.

She had been institutionalized in Massachusetts and had at least 18 interactions with police in Hamilton, Mass. — primarily calls in the 1980s that led to her being taken into protective custody.

Neither Morneau nor Sgt. Juliet Gilman, the other officer who responded to the call, was familiar with the Paulsons. Kennebunk police had accompanied rescue crews on medical calls for Carol Paulson but had had no contact with her daughter.

On the morning of the shooting, Katherine Paulson visited her grandmother in Kittery and did not return for several hours, Carol Paulson told the detective. Carol Paulson said she had a panic attack because of the stressful relationship with her daughter and called the hotline of Counseling Services Inc., an agency that provides mental health crisis services in York County.

When Katherine Paulson returned home around 7 p.m., her mother told her what she had to do about her mental health problems.

About two hours later, Carol Paulson called 911. She told a dispatcher that her daughter had psychological problems and was refusing the options she had given her, and that she was afraid for her own well-being, according to a summary of the 911 call.

Carol Paulson told the dispatcher that the hotline counselor had told her she should contact police if she feared her daughter, and that she wanted Katherine removed from their home.

“She told the 911 dispatcher about Katie’s mental health issues but that information was not conveyed to any of the officers, at least in the information we’ve seen,” said Benjamin Gideon, a lawyer who is investigating the shooting for Katherine Paulson’s estate.

Steven Price, a spokesman for Counseling Services, said he could not confirm or deny whether someone was in the agency’s care. He said the agency has a cooperative relationship with law enforcement that includes education and training for de-escalating mental health crises.

Kennebunk police Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee said the police response could have been different if the officers had known about Katherine Paulson’s history.

“I’m not going to sit here and point blame, but I think it’s something that certainly needs to be addressed and worked on cooperatively,” he said.

It’s estimated that Morneau shot Katherine Paulson within 11 to 19 seconds of entering the home.

After the shooting, Carol Paulson told the detective that her daughter could be fine one moment and horrible the next. When asked what she meant, she said Katherine could “lose control of her brain” and “get really angry” and “what she did to your officers this evening.”

Carol Paulson also asked the detective why police didn’t try to wound her daughter rather than kill her.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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