This story was corrected at 11:35 a.m. Thurday to correct the name of the acting police chief.

Katherine Paulson of Kennebunk, who was fatally shot in her home by police last month, suffered from so much anxiety that she was unable to work or finish her schooling, her father said Tuesday.

James Paulson said his daughter didn’t respond well to stress; she generally just wanted to be left alone when she was upset. He said she would react when someone “poked her with a stick,” figuratively speaking.

Katherine Paulson, 39, was shot multiple times by Officer Joshua Morneau on March 27. Morneau and another officer were responding to a report of a domestic dispute at the 16 Nottingham Court condominium that Paulson shared with her mother, Carol.

“Had they known more about her, they probably could have talked her down, based on what I know,” James Paulson said Tuesday. “But I wasn’t there.”

James Paulson, who lives in Washington state, said his daughter could feel very threatened by police. He said he didn’t know her medical diagnosis, but she was supposed to be taking medication.

The shooting is being investigated by the state Attorney General’s Office, which reviews all use of deadly force by police to determine whether it was justified. No additional information has been released since the investigation began, and it is not clear when the office will release its report.

Both officers were put on leave. The Kennebunk Police Department is doing its own investigation, focusing on whether its policies and procedures were followed.

In 1997 and 2000, Katherine Paulson was involved in incidents in Massachusetts in which she was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a police officer, and disorderly conduct. The charges in the 1997 case were dismissed.

According to police records in Wenham, Mass., an off-duty officer from nearby Ipswich faced an irate woman armed with an aluminum flashlight on June 9, 2000. Two Wenham officers who were sent to the scene reported that Katherine Paulson wielded the flashlight in a threatening way, moving toward one of the officers and screaming that she would kill him.

The officer pepper-sprayed her, and all three men forced her to the ground. She was later taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

She was found guilty of the charges, given a suspended sentence and put on probation. She was later incarcerated for 90 days for a probation violation, according to records from the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.

James Paulson said his daughter would drive around when she couldn’t sleep, and was doing so in the early morning of the incident in Wenham. She was meticulous about following the speed limit and was upset that the driver behind her – the off-duty officer, whose name was redacted from police records – was tailgating. He said she put on her brakes, let him pass and tailgated him before they got into an argument.

“He being an off-duty police officer, called the police and, of course, the brethren hang together,” James Paulson said.

In 1997 in Saugus, Mass., Katherine Paulson refused to be patted down outside a nightclub by a female security guard at a New Year’s event.

The patrolman who was on the security detail, and whose name has been redacted from the records, reported that Katherine Paulson started swinging her fists – one of her blows scratched the officer’s neck – and kicked the officer in the groin.

James Paulson noted that the incidents happened more than a decade ago. He said his daughter, as far as he knows, had not had any problems in the past 11 years.

Katherine Paulson seemed fine in situations that weren’t stressful, he said. She laughed a lot and loved the Red Sox, her cats and Jerry Lewis, he said.

Kennebunk police had been to the condominium on Nottingham Court before, but only to assist with medical calls for Carol Paulson, Katherine’s mother, said Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee. He has said that Kennebunk police didn’t know about Katherine Paulson’s criminal history in Massachusetts.

Before moving to Kennebunk, Katherine and Carol Paulson lived in Shirley, Mass. Police went to their home twice for medical calls in 2005, said Shirley police Sgt. Peter Violette.

Katherine Paulson lived with her father from the mid-1980s through the mid-2000s, when he moved from Massachusetts to Washington. Katherine Paulson then helped and lived with her mother, who has a heart condition, he said.

On the evening of the shooting, Morneau and Sgt. Juliet Gilman met with the caller, who invited them in, according to Kennebunk police. Morneau was soon confronted with deadly force, and shot and killed Paulson, according to police.

In response to a public records request, Kennebunk police released one disciplinary warning letter and three letters of commendation from the personnel file of Morneau, who joined the department in October 2005.

In the warning letter, dated Oct. 15, 2010, acting Police Chief Russell French said Morneau violated the department’s policy for responses in neighboring Arundel, in part by making an arrest before the arrival of deputies from the York County Sheriff’s Office, the agency that requested assistance.

His action, French wrote, created potential liability for Kennebunk and left the town unprotected while he was in Arundel.

In a letter dated Feb. 9 of this year, Police Chief Robert MacKenzie congratulated Morneau for his investigation into car burglaries and criminal mischief in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel.

The other two letters were from individuals, thanking Morneau for his response to a burglary and an unspecified event.

Gilman, who joined the Kennebunk Police Department in 2003 and was promoted to sergeant in 2007, has no final disciplinary records in her file, according to police.

She was named the department’s 2010 employee of the year. A Kennebunk firefighter and paramedic praised her for her work on a call in September, and then-Police Chief Matthew Baker recognized her for escorting a victim from a crime scene to safety.

In a letter from York County Assistant District Attorney John Burke dated March 19, 2008, Morneau and Gilman were praised for their investigations.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]


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