A judge has ordered the state to give the Portland Press Herald the transcript of a 911 call from the wife of a Windham man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in April.

The judge, however, denied the newspaper access to video and audio recordings from police cruisers at the scene of the shooting, saying their release could interfere with the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into the deputy’s use of deadly force.

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Mangino shot 66-year-old Stephen McKenney in the head in his driveway at 2 Searsport Way in Windham on the morning of April 12 after his wife, Vicki McKenney, called 911 to say her husband might be suicidal.

Police have said Stephen McKenney, a retired bus driver, was waving a gun and refused to drop it before Mangino shot him. His wife, however, who was watching from the back of police cruiser 75 yards away, contends her husband had his hands by his sides and said she didn’t see a gun.

“There is significant public interest in evaluating that response,” Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren wrote in his decision handed down Tuesday.

MaineToday Media, the company that owns the Press Herald, had requested the transcript of Vicki McKenney’s 911 call under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, as well as video and audio recordings from cruisers at the scene. That request was denied by the state and MaineToday Media appealed it in court.

The court found that while the audio and video recordings could interfere with the investigation, as the Attorney General’s Office argued, the same reasoning did not apply to the 911 call.

Justice Warren gave the Attorney General’s Office 21 days to file an appeal.

Timothy Feeley, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the state would decide whether to appeal any part of the decision after learning whether MaineToday Media plans to file its own appeal regarding the audio and video recordings.

Sigmund Schutz, the attorney representing MaineToday Media, said the newspaper has not decided whether to appeal.

Attorney General Janet Mills said Wednesday, in a statement, “We are generally pleased with Justice Warren’s decision as it recognizes the balance between the public’s interest in evaluating police conduct and the need for law enforcement to complete a thorough investigation into the death of a citizen.”

The state had argued that releasing the transcript would violate the McKenneys’ privacy, but the court found “that the public interest in evaluating the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers – and in evaluating the review of deadly force incidents by the Attorney General’s office – outweighs the McKenneys’ personal privacy interest.”

Schutz said the ruling “extends and reinforces” a previous Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision in November, in another shooting case, granting the newspaper access to the transcripts of 911 calls made by a Biddeford teenager reporting threats made by his landlord. The landlord, James Pak, subsequently killed the teen and his girlfriend moments after police responded to the call.

In that decision, the state’s highest court rejected the state’s longstanding practice of withholding 911 transcripts in homicide cases.

Both rulings, Schutz said, underscore “the public’s right to know how our emergency response system is operating.”

In Tuesday’s decision, the court sided with the state on not releasing video and audio recordings from cruiser cameras, saying that making them public could influence the recollection of witnesses whom the Attorney General’s Office might want to interview again.

Mills said she expects the investigation into the shooting to be completed “in the near future,” but would not be more specific.

“The Office of (the) Attorney General has always said that it will release all appropriate materials in the matter at the appropriate time; it is just a matter of when,” she said.

Daniel Lilley, the attorney for Vicki McKenney, said he is still waiting for the completion of the investigation. He said that any claim his client might want to file against the police has to be done within 180 days of the incident.

“They’re sure taking their time,” he said.

By state standards, to be justified in shooting McKenney, Mangino must have reasonably believed that he or someone else faced immediate danger of serious injury or death and that deadly force was necessary to end the threat.

The Attorney General’s Office has reviewed more than 100 cases of deadly force incidents involving law enforcement officers since 1990 and has found the use justified in every case.