Waterville police Officer Timothy Hinton continues to recover at home as Maine State Police, the Attorney General’s Office and Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office investigate the Dec. 22 traffic stop in which Hinton was shot in both arms and the suspect, Richard Murray-Burns, was later shot multiple times by law enforcement officials in Canaan.

Waterville Police Officer Timothy Hinton was wounded in an altercation with a shoplifting suspect on Dec. 22. Courtesy of Waterville Police

Hinton responded to a report of a shoplifter at Walmart in Waterville and stopped a vehicle on Main Street when he was shot in both arms while still in his cruiser, police said at the time. A chase ensued and the suspect, Richard Murray-Burns, 29, of Hartland, was shot multiple times by several law enforcement officials and taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where his condition is not being revealed.

A hospital spokesman said Tuesday afternoon that the hospital had received several calls inquiring about Murray-Burns.

“Unfortunately, I have no information that I can share,” he said, when asked about Murray-Burns’ condition.

Meanwhile, Waterville Deputy police Chief Bill Bonney said Tuesday that Hinton is at home with his family and remains on paid administrative leave, as is standard protocol when officers are involved in deadly force encounters.

“He is recovering well,” Bonney said. “He’s an incredibly strong officer, both emotionally and physically, and he’s processing through this as I would expect any of my officers to do. He’s well on his way to recovery.”

Bonney said he could not discuss specifics of the case, but he could talk about the process that takes place when officers are involved in deadly force, which was the case Dec. 22. Several investigations are occurring simultaneously, including a criminal investigation, he said. Waterville police are working with Maine State Police, which is investigating the case, according to Bonney.

“Whenever a police officer causes deadly force, it’s investigated by the Attorney General’s Office, even if death did not occur,” he said.

Contacted Monday, Marc Malon, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, responded in an email that the office is “investigating the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, as is standard protocol in such situations. The investigation is ongoing.”

A Maine State Police trooper spray-paints a circle around a shell casing Sunday on Route 23 after the shootout in Canaan. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Officials have not yet said whether Murray-Burns has or will be charged in the case. Malon referred questions about possible charges to the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney was on vacation Tuesday, according to a woman who answered the phone in her Augusta office. A call placed to Maloney’s cell phone Tuesday was not returned. Bonney said State Police would be the arresting agency, if an arrest were to take place.

Meanwhile, Bonney is conducting an internal investigation at the Waterville Police Department to make sure the force used was within policy, he said. As part of department policy, a review team is appointed by the police chief to review the incident to determine two things — whether all policies were followed and whether any changes need to be made to policies based on the incident, according to Bonney.

He said a pretty complicated series of events take place following a deadly force incident, including working to ensure the emotional well-being of police officers and staff, which includes a critical debriefing. A trained mental health professional comes in to talk about the event and help employees process through it, Bonney said.

“After that, we’ll make sure the officer is ready, physically and emotionally, to come back to work,” he said.

On Dec. 22, after Hinton was shot during the traffic stop, he continued to pursue Murray-Burns’ vehicle, which turned onto Ohio Hill Road, also known as Route 23, in Fairfield Center, and then turned north on U.S. Route 201 in the Hinckley area of Fairfield.

A Waterville police officer puts out traffic cones on Dec. 22 after a shootout following a chase that ended in Canaan.  Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

The chase continued on U.S. 201 to the Hinckley Bridge, which crosses the Kennebec River to Route 23 in Clinton, and continued on 23 into Canaan, ending at the intersection of routes 23 and 2 in that town. Murray-Burns was then shot by law enforcement officers from several agencies who had joined the pursuit.

At the time, Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, identified seven officials who fired at Murray-Burns, who he said was armed with an assault-style weapon. Several cruisers were struck by gunfire from that weapon, according to McCausland.

All of the officers were placed on paid administrative leave. McCausland said they were state troopers Eric Sucy, Rick Moody, Daniel Murray and Garret Booth; investigator Ken MacMaster of the state Fire Marshal’s Office; Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Stephen Arminger; and Winslow police Officer Cameron Huggins.

Hinton was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Center for Health in Waterville where he was treated for his gunshot wounds and released about 4:30 p.m. Murray-Burns was taken to Thayer and later flown by LifeFlight helicopter to the Bangor Hospital where he was treated for multiple gunshot wounds.

Asked Tuesday about the condition of the Ford sport utility cruiser Hinton was driving Dec. 22, Bonney said it “took extensive damage,” but he was unaware of the status of the other agencies’ cruisers.

Bonney said the case illustrates the danger law enforcement officials face every day.

“I think that it goes to show that nothing is routine for us,” he said. “We don’t know what is on the other side of that traffic stop.”

This story has been updated with Richard Murray-Burns’ correct town of residence: Hartland. It was a source error.

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