December 17, 2012

Maine firm built type of rifle used in shootings

AR-15 rifles were manufactured at the Bushmaster Firearms plant in Windham until last year.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

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Bushmaster AR-15

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The Bushmaster plant in Windham closed last year and moved operations out of state. The plant on Roosevelt Trail has been reopened as Windham Weaponry.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Windham Weaponry now makes high-end semi-automatic rifles, sometimes called black guns because of their color. The guns retail for about $1,000 to $1,600.

During the time Dyke owned Bushmaster, a Bushmaster .223 rifle manufactured at the Windham plant was used by Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who terrorized the Washington D.C. area in 2002.

Under Dyke's ownership, Bushmaster paid $500,000 of the $2.5 million settlement, along with co-defendant Bull's Eye Shooter Supply to some of the victims and families of victims. The company denied responsibility.

In the 2011 profile in the Press Herald, the senior Dyke, a Wilton native, said he grew up in a home without an indoor bathroom. His parents, wool and shoe factory workers, bathed the children in a tin tub in the sink.

Dyke attended Wilton Academy and spent a year at what was then Husson College before joining the Army's 108th Counter Intelligence Corps in South Korea and Iceland. Dyke bought into about 60 different businesses over the years, including a perfume company, a lumberyard and communications companies.

In the 2011 interview, Dyke said gun makers face unique and unavoidable challenges.

"Every time somebody is shot, you hold your breath," he said.

Weinstein described Dyke as a "man of high integrity" in the 2011 profile.

Staff writers Kevin Miller and Jessica Hall contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:


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Richard Dyke


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