The Maine state trooper who was put on administrative leave after shooting a teenager from West Paris in June returned to duty in July, even though the state Attorney General’s Office has not completed its review of the case.

There is no requirement that officers be kept off duty until such investigations are concluded. Police departments historically have waited for the reviews to be finished, but in recent years have allowed officers who shot suspects to return to work before reports are issued because, with a backlog of cases, some investigations take four months or more.

James Reynolds, who was shot three times by Trooper Jason Wing, has been moved from a hospital in Lewiston to a rehabilitation facility in Portland. Reynolds, 18, was shot in the leg, arm and head by Wing on June 8 about a mile from Reynolds’ home.

Wing encountered Reynolds on Roy Road, where he was called to investigate a report of a suspicious person.

Reynolds was listed in critical condition for several weeks after the shooting and family members wondered whether he would live or die.

“He’s alive. He’s kickin’,” Daniel Paine, Reynolds’ uncle, said Wednesday. “He’s in a Portland rehab.”

Paine would not provide further details about Reynolds’ condition, where he is now or when he left the hospital. Family members have referred questions to an attorney, who could not be reached Wednesday.

The Attorney General’s Office continues to investigate whether the shooting was justified.

A separate state police investigation will evaluate whether the department’s rules and policies were followed, and whether the policies are adequate to address the types of incidents that police face, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Both types of investigations are standard in cases in which a police officer uses deadly force.

“There is no obvious misconduct,” McCausland said Wednesday. “If there was, that would come into play, and that might delay returning to work. But there was nothing in this case.”

In 2012, the Portland Press Herald found in a year-long investigation of police-involved shootings in Maine that, in the two decades for which records were made available, the Attorney General’s Office never found a police-involved shooting not justified.

Wing, 28, of Rumford, was cleared to return to work on July 15 and was back on patrol the next day, said Lt. Walter Grzyb, who commands Troop B, where Wing is assigned. He had been on paid administrative leave after the shooting.

Before he could return to duty, Wing had to pass a psychological evaluation and requalify as proficient with his firearm. He likely went though a similar process previously.

In 2008, Wing fired three shots into the windshield of a pickup truck being driven by Lawrence Lapoint of Mexico, who was driving toward officers after he allegedly tried to kill his domestic partner. No one was injured in that incident, and Wing’s use of deadly force was found to be justified.

While the Attorney General’s Office continues its investigation of the June shooting, a process that could take six months or longer, questions linger about the confrontation between the teenager and the trooper.

Family members say Reynolds, who lives on Sumner Road near where he was shot, left for a walk that evening carrying a walking stick, not a rifle.

Police say that after disappearing into the woods down a snowmobile trail, Reynolds emerged on Roy Road, where he was seen by a neighbor, who called police to report a suspicious person on the private road.

Reynolds then allegedly broke into a nearby seasonal home, stealing a .35-caliber hunting rifle, some ammunition and four cans of Budweiser Light beer.

Wing encountered Reynolds near the edge of Roy Road and the property of the home that allegedly was burglarized, according to witnesses and police.

No charges have been filed in the alleged burglary, but the investigation is considered “open and active,” McCausland said.

After the shooting, a state police sergeant said Reynolds was “in possession of” the hunting rifle, although it is unclear whether he was holding it when Wing encountered him.

Grzyb would not clarify whether Reynolds was holding the gun, citing the ongoing investigation. A call to the Attorney General’s Office was not returned Wednesday. The office typically does not comment on ongoing investigations.

Reynolds’ family has retained a Lewiston attorney, Robert Laskoff, who has not responded to repeated inquiries about Reynolds, including a call to his office on Wednesday.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected] 

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