A grand jury on Friday indicted a former Cumberland County corrections officer in connection with the shooting of a fellow trainee in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy last June.

The indictment charges Matthew W. Benger, 24, of Brunswick with aggravated assault, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and reckless conduct with a firearm, which has a five-year maximum penalty.

Both charges list the same victim, Matthew J. Morrison, of Mars Hill, who was 33 at the time of the June 12 incident in Vassalboro.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

Benger had been previously charged by complaint and made an initial court appearance at the Capital Judicial Center in August but was not asked for a plea.

At that time, Benger’s attorney, Roger Brunelle, said a notice of claim had been filed, indicating a civil lawsuit was anticipated against his client.

Benger remains free on personal recognizance bail with conditions prohibiting him from contact with Morrison and with Cody Gillis, 25, of Brunswick.

The shooting occurred about 8 p.m. as those three were in Gillis’ truck which was in the rear parking lot of the police academy complex, located off Oak Grove Road.

A 9 mm handgun owned by Gillis was stored in the console of his truck. Benger was a front seat passenger and was handling the gun when it fired, striking Morrison, who was in the rear seat, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The three men were leaving the academy grounds for the evening, according to McCausland. Morrison suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment.

Last month, District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said the injury devastated Morrison and his family and that he had been unable to return to work.

Benger and Gillis worked as Cumberland County corrections officers and Morrison was an Aroostook County corrections officer.

They were in the fourth week of a five-week basic corrections training program at the academy.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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