October 23, 2013

Grand jury indicts Maine teenager shot by state trooper

The West Paris resident, 18, is indicted on burglary, theft and criminal threatening charges.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A teenager from West Paris who was shot by a state trooper after authorities say the young man threatened the trooper with a rifle has been indicted on three felony charges.

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James Reynolds, 18, is still recovering from gunshot wounds to the head, arm and leg stemming from an armed confrontation with a Maine State Police trooper in June.

Amelia Kunhardt/Staff Photographer

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State Trooper Jason Wing in an undated photo from the Maine State Police. A West Paris teen who was shot three times by Wing during a June 2013 confrontation, in which authorities say the young man threatened the trooper with a stolen rifle, has been indicted on three charges. Earlier this month, the Maine Attorney General’s Office cleared Wing of any wrongdoing and said in a report that the shooting was legally justified.

Photo: Maine State Police

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The Oxford County grand jury indicted James Reynolds, 18, last week on charges of burglary, theft and criminal threatening.

The indictment came less than two weeks after the Maine Attorney General’s Office cleared the trooper of any wrongdoing and said in a report that the shooting was legally justified.

The two most serious charges, burglary and theft, are each punishable by as much as 10 years in prison. The charge of criminal threatening is punishable by up to five years in prison. No arraignment date has been set, according to the court clerk’s office in South Paris.

Reynolds is accused of breaking into a seasonal home on Roy Road in West Paris on June 8 and stealing beer and a hunting rifle before he was confronted by Maine State Police Trooper Jason Wing.

Wing had been dispatched to Roy Road after a resident called police to report a suspicious person, known to the resident as “James,” who was suspected of breaking into homes in the area in the past, according to a report by the Attorney General’s Office.

About the same time, a mental health worker called police to tell them that a woman had reported that her son, James Reynolds, was missing. The woman said her son had mental health disorders, was a danger to himself and had attempted suicide in the past.

Wing, informed of the mental health concern, determined where he believed the person was walking. While Wing made a phone call to a game warden to arrange for a tracking dog, he saw someone looking at him from behind a wooden shed.

Authorities say the person behind the shed, later identified as Reynolds, quickly disappeared behind the building and then reappeared with unidentified objects in both hands.

Wing gave commands for Reynolds to drop the items. Reynolds replied with a vulgarity and showed a rifle held under his arm, the report says.

Wing drew his .45-caliber, state-issued semiautomatic pistol, took cover near his cruiser nearly 80 feet away, and told Reynolds to drop the rifle. Reynolds responded again, “(expletive) you!” and, according to the attorney general’s report, raised the rifle at Wing.

The trooper fired three rounds, hitting Reynolds each time.

The rifle, a lever-action .35-caliber hunting model, was later determined to be missing from a nearby seasonal camp that had been burglarized. Although Reynolds was carrying ammunition for the rifle, the weapon was not loaded at the time of the encounter and had a locking mechanism on it, according to the report.

Reynolds suffered injuries including bullet wounds to the head, leg and arm. He was treated at the scene by Wing and others, then taken by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He has since been recovering from his injuries, according to his family, although his current condition is unknown.

A resident of a seasonal home near the site of the shooting later reported that his home had been burglarized. Missing was the rifle found in Reynolds’ possession, along with other items, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Reynolds’ mother and attorney prevented law enforcement officers from interviewing the teenager, according to the report.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

Twitter: @scottddolan

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