Portland and Westbrook police are working together to determine whether drive-by shootings that took place in each city early Sunday morning were related.

No injuries were reported in the two shootings – one at a car and the other at a house – and the circumstances surrounding each were slightly different. But police and a resident of the Portland neighborhood where that shooting occurred placed the incidents in the same time frame.

Portland police Lt. Bob Doherty said someone drove by a home on Birchvale Drive in Portland and fired several shots into a black Toyota hybrid sedan that was parked in the driveway of a residential home.

A photograph of the car, which was taken by a news crew from WCSH-TV just before it was towed away, shows the blown-out rear passenger window – behind the driver’s seat.

“It is certainly cause for concern,” Doherty said. “It’s a residential neighborhood, a nice neighborhood in the Deering section of Portland.”

In the Westbrook incident, someone drove by a home on Bridgton Road – also known as Route 302 – early Sunday and “fired a number of rounds at the residence before fleeing in a vehicle,” Westbrook Police Capt. Michael Nugent said in a press release


No one was injured. Nugent said police do not have a description of the vehicle.

He said Westbrook officers were called to the home at 4:30 a.m.

The stretch of Route 302 where the shooting took place is northwest of the Riverside Golf Course in Portland and is a two-lane highway with a posted speed limit of 35 mph, according to police. Businesses and homes line both sides of the road, which connects northbound travelers with Windham.

The two police agencies were not saying Sunday night that the shootings are related.

“We are actively investigating and trying to put the puzzle pieces together,” said Doherty.

Doherty refused to give the exact time of the Portland shooting because he said it might jeopardize the investigation by the department’s Criminal Investigation Division. But he said the shooting on Birchvale Drive took place close to the time provided by Westbrook police. He declined to say whether the Portland shooting took place before or after the incident in Westbrook.


However, a resident of Birchvale Drive said he was awakened by three loud pops sometime between 4:30 and 5 a.m.

“It’s always been such a quiet neighborhood. I thought a (power) transformer had blown,” said Mark Cannon, who has lived on Birchvale Drive since 1981. “I checked and saw that the electricity was still on.”

Attempts to reach the people who live in the house where the car was shot at were unsuccessful Sunday night, but Cannon said the family moved into the home about a year ago.

“They are relatively new to the neighborhood. I think they run a courier service,” Cannon said. “They’re very quiet and mind their own business.”

Cannon described the neighborhood as mostly peaceful. Homes abut the Capisic Brook watershed. The neighborhood, located on a cul-de-sac, is situated in a large area between Brighton Avenue, the Pine Tree Shopping Center and Warren Avenue.

“I think most people were in shock because nothing like this has ever happened before,” Cannon said.


Doherty, the Portland Police lieutenant, said police have spoken to people who were at the Birchvale Drive residence when shots were fired at the parked car.

“There were people that we spoke to who do have firsthand knowledge of what happened,” he said.

When asked if the public was in any danger, Doherty said he did not have enough information to comment, adding, “I just don’t know enough about it yet.”

Anyone with information about the Westbrook shooting is urged to contact the police department at 854-0644 or to call the Anonymous Crime Tip hot line at 591-8117.


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