WATERVILLE — The officer who was shot during a gunfight with a Harmony man Sunday was hailed as a hero for staying with the suspect until other officers could join a chase that spanned roughly 18 miles from Waterville to Canaan.

Waterville Officer Timothy Hinton pursued Richard Murray-Burns despite being shot in both arms with an assault-style rifle.

Waterville Police Officer Timothy Hinton Courtesy of Waterville Police

“Officer Hinton was really a hero out of this,” Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said. “Even though he was shot and wounded, he wanted to make sure he was able to stay with the car as long as he could until other officers could take over. That was very heroic of him.”

Hinton was treated and released from MaineGeneral Medical Center around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Murray-Burns was still alive Monday night and was being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said.

Hinton had pulled over Murray-Burns on upper Main Street in Waterville, also U.S. Route 201, to question him about a shoplifting complaint reported by Walmart employees. Murray-Burns fired shots at Hinton, wounding him, and drove away with Hinton in pursuit.

Hinton followed Murray-Burns until officers from the Maine State Police, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, State Fire Marshal’s Office and Winslow police joined the pursuit along routes 201, 23 and 2. Seven officers fired at Murray-Burns in a shootout that occurred near the Circle K gas station in Canaan and left the silver Honda he was driving riddled with bullets and with a blown-out windshield.

Massey said the windshield and body of the police cruiser Hinton was driving also were damaged.

“As far as we could tell, the cruiser was struck approximately 15 times,” Massey said. “The extent of the damage I really don’t know until we get a chance to get the car back and look at. Bullets penetrated into the interior – just what it hit and the extent I don’t know.”

Though Murray-Burns doesn’t have a criminal record in Maine, a newspaper in Massachusetts is reporting that he was charged with shooting his mother’s boyfriend and assaulting a police officer in Plymouth.

Murray-Burns was accused of shooting his mother’s boyfriend in the head with a .22-caliber pistol and beating him with a baseball bat during an argument in 2010, the Patriot Ledger in Quincy reported.

He was charged with assault and battery, assault to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of possession to distribute a Class D substance, defacing a firearm’s serial number and carrying a firearm without a license, the Patriot Ledger reported. The charges were later dismissed.

In 2017, Murray-Burns was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace, the Patriot Ledger said, citing court records.

Murray-Burns pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in February 2018 and the assault and battery charge was dropped, the newspaper reported.

A Waterville police officer puts out traffic cones Sunday afternoon after an officer and another man were shot following a chase that ended in Canaan. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Beth Stone, a spokeswoman for the Plymouth County District attorney, could not answer on Monday why the charges were dismissed because files from the case were in storage, the newspaper reported.

There were seven officer-involved shootings in Maine this year after five in 2018.

“We’ve seen an increase in violence against police in the last decade,” Massey said. “Our officers have remained vigilant that that’s a possibility – a routine call can turn pretty darn deadly. But to (Hinton’s) credit, he kept his wits about him and was able to function under tremendously adverse conditions including being wounded. I want to recognize his actions and the bravery he exhibited.”

Details about the shoplifting incident that preceded Sunday’s chase remain unclear. The assistant manager of Waterville’s Walmart said he was not able to comment on the complaint employees made to the police. Massey said that a Walmart employee reported that a shoplifter had left the store and provided a description of the vehicle, which enabled Hinton to stop it on Main Street.

The seven other officers who were involved in the shootout are State Troopers Eric Sucy, Rick Moody, Daniel Murray and Garret Booth; investigator Ken MacMaster of the state Fire Marshal’s Office; Somerset County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Arminger; and Winslow police Officer Cameron Huggins, McCausland said.

They, along with Hinton, have been placed on administrative leave with pay while the Attorney General’s Office investigates the incident. That is standard procedure for all officer-involved uses of deadly force.

McCausland said that having four troopers out on paid leave will not lessen the state police’s range of coverage or affect the investigation into the shooting, which is handled by the Attorney General’s Office.

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