January 10, 2013

Portland man charged with falsely reporting a shooting

Police say Jermaine T. Hill, 32, who is transient, called police to say a man had been shot in the stomach and was bleeding badly.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A Portland man faces charges of filing a false report after calling 911 to report a shooting in downtown Portland early Thursday morning.

Police say Jermaine T. Hill, 32, who is a transient, called police at 12:20 a.m. to say that a man had been shot in the stomach and was bleeding badly at the corner of Wilmot Street and Cumberland Avenue, and that the gunman was still in the area. Police dispatched 10 officers and the Fire Department had two engines and an ambulance ready to respond.

Hill gave the dispatcher the name of Thomas Hill when he called. When officers couldn't find a victim, they started looking for the caller. Dispatchers were able to determine the cellphone used was coming from the Monument Square area, police said.

Officers converged on the area and spotted Hill. While they were talking to him, his cellphone rang. It was police dispatchers calling back the number from which the fake shooting was reported.

Hill then tried to say that somebody else named Thomas Hill had borrowed his phone then left.

Hill was charged with making a false report, a class D misdemeanor, and is being held in Cumberland County Jail on $750 bail. Police say Hill's motivations are unclear.

Lt. Scott Pelletier, head of the criminal investigations division, said the crime is serious because an emergency response to a potential gunman presents real risks to emergency responders and the public, even if it turns out to be fake.

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