October 19, 2013

Police say gun-toting man poses threat to Portland

Carlos Reed says he is exercising his rights by walking with an assault rifle, hand gun, body armor and 120 rounds of ammunition.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Portland police warned the public Friday about a man they found walking near Woodfords Corner wearing body armor and carrying an assault rifle and 120 rounds of ammunition, who later said he was preparing for a military training mission and welcomed confrontations with police.

click image to enlarge

Carlos Reed poses for a picture in Portland on Friday, the same day police held a news conference about him.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Carlos Reed

But Carlos Reed said that he poses no threat, and that he has walked along Baxter Boulevard at night with his rifle a dozen times and never had a problem. The 27-year-old Iraq War veteran and college law enforcement student said police don’t like him asserting his Second Amendment rights and have cost him a semester’s worth of school by keeping him locked up for 14 days on a false charge.

“The reason I’ve been out of touch for two weeks is they tried to have me committed,” Reed said in a telephone interview after his release from the Cumberland County Jail on personal recognizance bail. “It was proven in court I’m not a danger to myself or others.”

Reed conceded that he sometimes does “weird stuff,” but said he suspects that police are overreacting to the gun incident to make sure they would be covered politically if anything bad happened.

Police said they are genuinely concerned.

“He said he’s going to arm himself again and force confrontations with the police,” Chief Michael Sauschuck said at a news conference Friday. “If somebody is saying he has piles of firearms and is going to have conflicts with police, that’s a concern for us and the community.”

Police stopped Reed at 1 a.m. on Sept. 27 after a resident reported a man walking with an assault rifle on Vannah Avenue near Forest Avenue. The caller told police later that the armed man didn’t threaten him or anyone else he saw.

Police saw Reed walking along Forest Avenue with his rifle in a “low ready” position, with the barrel near his left leg, pointed at the ground.

Officer Kevin Murphy drew his service weapon and ordered Reed to put down the rifle. Reed complied, and followed orders to step away and then lie down on the sidewalk, according to a police report.

Police found that Reed was carrying a Del Ton AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle with a Burris scope and a laser aiming device attached to the bottom of the barrel. A magazine with 30 rounds was loaded on the gun, though there was no round in the chamber. He had three other magazines with 30 rounds each, and a handgun strapped to his ankle, the report said.

“Reed said he feels comfortable being armed and that it was nice to have body armor and an AR-15,” said Officer Mathew Dissell, one of the responding officers.

Police confiscated the weapons because of the public complaints and the way Reed was carrying the rifle, Dissell said. They released Reed, with no charges.

On Oct. 1, Reed described the encounter to his community policing class at Southern Maine Community College, according to a statement from his instructor, former Portland police officer Kevin MacDonald.

When MacDonald asked Reed why he was out at that time of the morning with those weapons, Reed said he “was preparing for a military training mission,” MacDonald’s statement said. He didn’t think he had done anything wrong and said police had driven past him before the encounter and done nothing.

“At the end of the discussion he stated his armed walks would become a nightly event now that he knew it would provoke this type of police response,” MacDonald said.

“I felt they had taken my Second and Fourth Amendment rights,” Reed said Friday, referring to the rights to bear arms and be free of unreasonable search and seizure.

(Continued on page 2)

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