OAKLAND — Jason Thomas was sitting on his back deck on Belgrade Road Wednesday night having a cigarette when he heard a commotion next door, and then two gunshots.

He heard a woman — he thinks it was Amy Derosby — saying, “Please no, please help me.”

Thomas went inside, locked the door and barricaded it with chairs. Then he, like many of his neighbors, called 911. While he was on the phone with police, he heard more gunshots, four in all. The whole thing took place in about 45 seconds.

Four people died in the shooting at 41 Belgrade Road at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night — Derosby, her sister Amanda Bragg, 30, Michael Muzerolle, 29, and the man police say shot them, Herman Derico, 42.

When police arrived, they found Bragg and Muzerolle’s 4-year-old daughter, Arrianna, unhurt, inside the house.

Police believe Derico shot the three in the house then killed himself outside.


Thursday morning they still didn’t know why.

Thomas said he knew Derico as Khalil, not Herman, and didn’t know he had a gun.

He said Derico and Derosby lived upstairs; Bragg and Muzerolle lived downstairs. His children played with Arrianna.

Other residents of the neighborhood that skirts the north tip of Messalonskee Lake, a short walk from downtown, said they didn’t know Bragg, Derosby or Derico that well, but Muzerolle was well known around the community, doing a lot of odd jobs for people, mowing lawns and cleaning up leaves.

People say he didn’t have a full-time job and the couple seemed be struggling financially.

“We don’t have a clear understanding of why this happened,” said Lt. Troy Gardner of the Maine State Police at a news conference at 3 a.m. Thursday, seven hours after the shooting was first reported.


Waterville Regional Communications Center got numerous 911 calls starting around 8 p.m., and when police arrived at the shooting scene they found the bodies of Amanda Bragg, 30, and Michael Muzerolle, 29, the parents of the 4-year-old girl, and Amy Derosby, inside the house, Gardner said.

Derico was found dead outside the house. A Maine criminal record check of Derico shows no prior record.

All four died from gunshot wounds. Police believe Derico shot the other three then shot himself outside the house, Gardner said, but “we do not know why.”

When the Oakland Police Department arrived at the scene after the initial reports Wednesday night, they called for assistance from the Maine State Police and a state police tactical team, Gardner said. Police from  five other agencies eventually arrived at the scene, including the Fairfield, Waterville and Winslow police departments and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

The Office of the Maine Medical Examiner was on the scene Thursday and will be assisting police in determining an official cause of death for the four adults.



The apartment house at 41 Belgrade Road is brown with white trim, has a neatly kept yard, with flower baskets outside. There is an apartment upstairs and one downstairs.

Landlord Paul Sekule lives in a third apartment in the rear.

Gardner said 911 calls were made by several people, including from one of the victims.

There were no arrests made and no one was taken into custody. Police worked on the case throughout Wednesday night and were still at the scene late Thursday morning.

“It’s obviously a terrible crime,” Oakland Police Chief Mike Tracy said at the scene Wednesday night.

The house where the shooting took place is about a quarter mile west of the Belgrade Road intersection with Church Street and Libby Hill Road.


Police from at least six agencies converged on the scene after the initial report Wednesday night, including Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow police departments and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Belgrade Road was initially blocked at the intersection of Church Street and Libby Hill Road, which is Route 23, about a quarter mile east of the shooting site.


By 10:30 p.m., several residents had gathered in the area, including some who said they lived on Belgrade Road and were being kept from returning to their homes by police.

Izzy and Renee Spencer had gone to the store and left their children at home with Renee Spencer’s brother. They returned around 8:30 p.m. and were still waiting to be allowed back down the street more than two hours later.

They said their children were safe and were in bed for the night. “Thank goodness,” Renee Spencer said. “I don’t know if they even know really that all this is happening.”


“You don’t expect something like this to happen in a small town,” Izzy Spencer said.

“It’s a nice quiet street,” added Renee Spencer. “The loudest thing we hear is cars.”

At least 15 police cruisers were at the scene shortly after 8 p.m. Police armed with rifles walked from the intersection with Church Street toward the house where the shooting took place.

Toby Cress, in a phone interview from his home at 94 Belgrade Road, which was in the area initially blocked off by police, said about an hour after the shooting that he could see the scene from his window,

“I can see all the cops all over the place,” he said. “I went outside and (the police) instantly told me to go back in the house. The said they couldn’t explain the details, just that it wasn’t safe to be out on the street.”

He said he and his family were safe although they were frightened. “It’s kinda crazy. It’s close to home,” said Cress, 44.


Kevin Kerby and Brandy Coughlin, who live nearby on Runner Avenue, said they didn’t hear a lot of noise but saw police lights and heard a siren. They came outside to see what was going on.

Kerby said he has a friend who lives on Summer Street, which intersects the blocked-off area, but that the friend was OK and was in his house with the doors locked.

“All I know is we came outside and saw all the lights. I don’t know that much,” Kerby said.

“I haven’t heard nothing or seen nothing,” said David Demo, who was watching the scene from his home near the intersection. “All I saw was the lights.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, the Family Violence Project noted that many details of the incident were not yet known but that the case makes clear “violence in the home … affects everyone, including the victim(s), family and all members of the community.”

“It is important to remember that abuse and violence, even lethal acts of violence, do occur in every neighborhood and in every community,” the statement read. “While it is troubling to recognize, a quiet neighborhood in which everyone seems to know one another, is as likely a scenario for inexcusable violence and abuse as any other.”

The Family Violence Project encouraged people to use its confidential support line at 1-877-890-7788.

Portland Press Herald staff writer David Hench contributed to this report.


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