July 14, 2012

Teenager shot while attempting to burn Gorham home, police say

Authorities are not saying whether there is any connection with arsons in Gorham this spring.

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

GORHAM - A 14-year-old boy was shot and wounded late Friday at a home where police said he was trying to set a fire.

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Gorham police Sgt. Michael Nault, left, and Officer Wayne Drown hunt for evidence Saturday at the scene of a shooting at 8 Mountview Drive.

Photos by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

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Police investigate the scene of a shooting at 8 Mountview Drive in Gorham. A 14-year-old boy was hospitalized.

Additional Photos Below

Gorham police said Saturday that the teenager, whose identity is being withheld, is being treated for what they believe to be non-life threatening injuries after being shot at a residence at 8 Mountview Drive.

Police said the homeowner and a witness interrupted the teenager around 11:45 p.m. as he tried to set a fire at the home, which was occupied at the time. Police did not specify who shot the boy.

There was slight damage to the light-green, two-story, Colonial-style home.

Police said the boy was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. No charges have been filed, but the incident remains under investigation, police said.

Authorities were not saying Saturday whether there was any connection between the attempted arson and a series of arsons that broke out in the spring.

Gorham police and investigators from the state Fire Marshal's Office were back on the scene at the house Saturday but were revealing little information about the shooting.

A police officer swept the two-acre property with a metal detector, looking for anything that may have been connected with the incident.

Danny Young of the Fire Marshal's Office walked a dog on a leash around the house.

Young described the incident as an attempt to start a fire. Asked if it could be related to the string of arson cases in Gorham this spring, he threw his hands in the air. "I am just trying to get the basics," he said.

A series of six suspicious fires began March 27. Unlike Friday's incident, they involved vacant buildings around town. The most recent arson targeted an unoccupied house on Route 237 on April 18. The town has offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arsons.

A neighbor, who declined to be identified, came home Friday night to see a number of police officers outside 8 Mountview Drive.

The home is owned by Craig and Tracey Bassingthwaite. Bassingthwaite is the head coach of the Gorham Grizzlies youth football league.

The neighborhood is a quiet one of upscale homes and well-manicured lawns.

At 8 Mountview Drive, a black sport utility vehicle with a National Rifle Association sticker was parked in the driveway. A basketball hoop was set up, and the Bassingthwaites displayed an American flag.

At one point Saturday afternoon, a woman drove up to the house and started loading items from the home into a minivan before driving away. The Bassingthwaites did not repond to phone calls or emails.

Other neighbors said they were unaware of the incident and didn't hear or see anything unusual Friday night.

Gorham police said they believe they have identified all parties involved in the incident and do not believe there is any immediate danger from people involved.

Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 222-1660.

The fires, both arson and accidental, have local residents on edge.

When a major fire broke out April 19 at the Gorham House of Pizza -- one day after the last one believed set by an arsonist -- residents feared that whoever was setting the fires had moved from the northern, more rural section of town to downtown.

But officials later determined the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction. Six tenants, four of whom were students at the University of Southern Maine, were displaced by the fire.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Gorham police Officer Todd Gagnon photographs evidence related to the investigation at the scene of a shooting at 8 Mountview Drive in Gorham on Saturday. Also pictured are Officer Wayne Drown, left, and Sgt. Michael Nault.


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