Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Toni Macquinn was taking her two dogs, Sailor and Marina, out for their “daily duties” when she heard a gunshot. Then another. Then a third, which whizzed past her leg.
Toni Macquinn stands with her dogs, Sailor and Marina, in the backyard of her Old Orchard Beach home Wednesday, in the same spot where she says she was nearly hit by stray bullets from a hunter’s rifle.
Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer
A hole, which Toni Macquinn said was caused Wednesday by a stray bullet from a hunter’s rifle, is visible in her backyard fence in Old Orchard Beach.
Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer
She saw two men standing near a pickup truck across the field from her house in Old Orchard Beach, and the buck deer the men apparently were trying to shoot. She shouted for them to stop but didn’t wait to find out if they heard her. She scooted the dogs into the garage and, once she was safely inside, called 911.
Old Orchard Beach police arrived first, about 8 a.m., followed by Maine game wardens, who investigate all hunting-related incidents. They examined the holes that the gunshots had put in Macquinn’s fence.
The two hunters, identified as Kenneth Blow, a recently elected Old Orchard Beach town councilor, and Tim Swenson, a local businessman, were detained, questioned and released.
Cpl. John MacDonald, spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, said he expects that one or both of the men will be charged eventually. He would not specify what the charges might be, and said he couldn’t release many details about the incident because it is under investigation.
State law prohibits shooting within 300 feet of a home, and some towns have stricter ordinances, MacDonald said. He said incidents like Wednesday’s don’t happen often but he didn’t have statistics available.
Macquinn said her home off Cascade Road is much less than 300 feet from where the hunters were standing. Because she could see them, she assumed they could see her, or at least her house, she said.
Blow, a partner in the well-known Blow Bros. portable toilet business, did not return a call for comment Wednesday. Attempts to reach Swenson on Wednesday were also unsuccessful.
Macquinn said she knows both men but didn’t get a chance to speak to them after the incident. Asked whether she believes they should be charged, she said, “Absolutely.”
“I could have been seriously hurt or killed,” Macquinn said.
Twenty-five years ago this month, a woman in Hermon was killed by a hunter’s stray bullet while she was hanging laundry out on her porch. The death of Karen Wood attracted national media attention and cast a pall on Maine’s deer hunting tradition.
The hunter, Donald Rogerson, was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted by a jury in 1990. The case prompted the Legislature to enact a law in 1991 that requires a hunter to see the entire deer before shooting.
There have been 340 hunting fatalities in Maine in 72 years of record-keeping.
“That could have been me,” Macquinn said.
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or:
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Two bullet holes, at bottom left and top right, are visible in Toni Macquinn’s fence at her home off Cascade Road in Old Orchard Beach on Wednesday. “I could have been seriously hurt or killed,” she said.