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

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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

CHARGES ARE BROUGHT

In the days after the late-night encounter, police met with prosecutors, who decided that Reed’s actions constituted the Class D misdemeanor of “threatening display of a weapon” and obtained an arrest warrant. A Class D misdemeanor is punishable by as much as a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. State police arrested Reed – at gunpoint – on the charge in Lebanon on Oct. 4.

He also was charged with possession of hypodermic apparatus and possession of drugs, which police said they suspect are steroids, after they were found in his car along with a .22-caliber pistol and his bulletproof vest.

Reed was taken to jail, then ordered to go to the veterans hospital in Togus for a psychiatric evaluation Wednesday. Court papers say he was found competent to stand trial.

Reed made his initial appearance in court Friday, then was released on personal recognizance pending a court appearance Jan. 8. He is not allowed to have guns or ammunition in the meantime, and police can search him and his home, which they did after his release. He has a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

Reed said he has no criminal history, and police confirmed that.

Chief Sauschuck, who served in the Marine Corps, said Friday that there is a difference between walking with a gun slung over a shoulder and walking with it in the “low ready” position.

“You can pop that weapon up and target it very rapidly,” he said. “To us and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, that is when it’s a threatening display of a weapon.”

The charge is distinct from the more serious charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, which requires a threatening gesture at a specific person.

Sauschuck noted that Reed’s nighttime incident occurred 10 days after the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. He said that after tragedies, people say they “didn’t put the pieces together,” and Portland police don’t want to make that mistake.

“We’ve done all we can at this point, through the legal system and the mental health system, to get Mr. Reed the help he needs,” Sauschuck said.

Police said anyone who encounters Reed walking armed in the city should call 911.

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS

Reed said he wanted to go out at night with his rifle to assert his Second Amendment rights, quietly. He said he asked an instructor at SMCC whether it was legal to walk downtown with an assault rifle in plain sight.

“He said: ‘I wouldn’t advise it, but you can walk down Congress Street with an AR-15 and it’s perfectly legal,’ ” Reed recalled.

“The point of the time of day was to avoid alarming people,” he said. But he expected police would question him, then let him go, as he had seen on YouTube.

“I did my best to stay within the confines of the law as it was explained to me” in class, he said.

He said, “I had the weapon pointed at the ground, which is, from my training, the only safe way to handle that weapon.”

Reed said he served in Iraq for 15 months in a unit that guarded detainees. He came home in 2009 and shifted from active duty to the reserves. He worked briefly at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham and then got a part-time job in sales.

His confinement cost him his academic standing this semester and his job, he said. He also had to pay $700 to get his car out of the impound lot where police took it after his arrest in Lebanon, he said.

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