WINSLOW —The vice chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party, one of her children and her boyfriend found themselves facing down a loaded gun held by her ex-husband Sunday, she and police say.
Susan Morissette – accompanied by three of the four children she had with her former husband and by boyfriend Barry Sturk – pulled into her First Street driveway Sunday after a Mothers’ Day outing to find her ex-husband, Wilfred Morissette, outside of his house across the street with a gun, police said.
Wilfred Morissette, who police said was intoxicated, was arrested and charged with six felonies, including criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, but not before he pointed the gun at his ex-wife, one of their teenage sons and Sturk, Susan Morissette and police said.
Susan Morissette, who represented Winslow and Benton in the 125th Legislature and is a staunch gun rights activist, said the quick response by police likely prevented a domestic violence-related shooting.
“He’s shown aggressive behavior in the past, but not to this extent,” she said Monday. “Last night was the worst.”
Morissette said she filed for divorce in the spring of 2012. Her ex-husband moved into the rented house across the street from her and their four children on First Street that July, she said.
Sunday night, Morissette said she was able to get two of the teenage children in the house before her ex-husband pointed the gun at anyone while Sturk called 911 from behind her vehicle. When her ex-husband started confronting one of their other teenage boys, Sturk tried to distract Wilfred Morissette until police arrived moments later.
“To say it took the police minutes to get here would be exaggerating,” Morissette said, fighting back tears. “From my perspective, they saved at least Barry’s life.”
Winslow police Sgt. Haley Fleming said they “weren’t able to wait” for backup because of the seriousness of the 911 call.
Police ordered Wilfred Morissette to show his hands and get on the ground, Fleming said.
“A loaded .40-caliber handgun was taken from him and he was taken into custody,” Fleming said.
Susan Morissette said gun rights come with responsibility.
“I’m very supportive of gun rights, but I’m also supportive of gun safety,” she said. “You don’t put a gun in your hand if you’ve had a drink.”
Fleming said police conducted several interviews with the victims and one with Wilfred Morissette at the police station. He was arrested on three charges of aggravated reckless conduct, a Class B felony; two charges of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon; and one charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, all three of which are class C felonies.
Wilfred Morissette was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta and is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on July 15.
Jesse Scardina can be contacted at 861-9239 or at: