VASSALBORO

State police say an Aroostook County corrections officer was accidentally shot  Monday night in vehicle and with a gun owned by a corrections officer from Brunswick, while parked at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.

Wounded was Matthew Morrison, 33, from Mars Hill. Morrison is being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for a gunshot wound to the leg. State police are investigating the incident.

Morrison was shot by a second correctional officer, Matthew Benger, 24, from Portland, who works for Cumberland County, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The shooting took place inside a pickup truck owned by a third correctional officer  — Cody Gillis, 25, of Brunswick, who also works for Cumberland County. The three men were attending the five week basic corrections training program at the academy. Gillis also owned the gun. 

The shooting took place about 8 p.m. as the three men were leaving the academy grounds for the evening. The gun had been stored in the console of Gillis’ truck and Benger, who was a front seat passenger, was handling the 9mm handgun at the time. Morrison was sitting in the rear seat of the truck and Gillis was driving.  The incident took place in the rear parking lot of the police academy complex, located off Oak Grove Road.

Morrison was taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral in Augusta and then flown by the Lifeflight helicopter to Maine Medical Center. He was expected to have surgery on the leg Tuesday.

The Director of the Academy, John Rogers, said the three officers were in the fourth week of their correctional training, which takes place during the day. 

The class was made up of 29 correctional officers from the county jails and the Maine correctional system. Some officers commute from home and others stay at the academy during the week. The three officers involved in the incident were staying at the academy and were leaving the campus last night on an errand.  

Rogers said he will review the incident and is awaiting the final investigative report from State Police. The Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office will also receive a copy of that report.   



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