WATERVILLE — Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey and District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said in separate interviews Tuesday that they are confident whoever was involved in the shooting of Emahleeah Frost, 7, will be brought to justice.

Emahleeah Frost, 7, is recovering after being injured Feb. 28 in a drive-by shooting at her family’s apartment at 42 Summer St. in Waterville. Photo courtesy of Davina Petchonka

“We’re moving forward with the case,” Massey said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done on it. We’re continuing to follow up on leads.”

Massey said that since Frost was struck by a bullet Feb. 28 in her second-floor bedroom at 42 Summer St. by a drive-by shooter, police have put a lot of effort and work into the investigation. Frost spent nearly a week at Maine Medical Center in Portland being treated for a bullet lodged between two vertebrae.

“We’re making progress and we’re moving forward and we just need to stay focused and continue what we’re doing,” Massey said. “It’s moving in a positive direction, so I do feel confident that we’ll identify who’s involved in this.”

Waterville police on Friday night arrested Gavin T. Loabe, 18, of Mercer, and charged him with aggravated assault for allegedly being in a car with another person who fired the gun at the 42 Summer St. apartment building Feb. 28, striking Frost as she was having a snack in her bedroom with her younger sister after school.

Tuesday afternoon Loabe was still at Kennebec County Jail in Augusta, where his bail was $5,000 cash, according to a jail spokesperson. That bail had been lowered Monday by a judge from $750,060, he said. At that Monday court appearance, information was released that suggested a “Mr. Vigue” had previously lived in the apartment on the second floor of 42 Summer St. and that he was the alleged target of the shooting because he had propositioned Loabe’s girlfriend for sex.

Maloney said Tuesday that she is confident the case will be solved.

“This case is the No. 1 priority by both the Waterville Police Department and by my office,” she said. “We are in regular communication.”

Maloney said she thinks it’s important that people understand Loabe was charged with aggravated assault — as an accomplice in the case.

“I do think that there is some confusion in the public as to whether or not Mr. Gavin Loabe was charged as the primary or the accomplice in this case,” she said. “I think it’s important the public continue to hear that he’s an accomplice in the case so there isn’t a misunderstanding which could be hurtful to Gavin Loabe.”

Asked if Loabe identified the person who was driving the car and allegedly shot at 42 Summer St. or whether she knows who that person is, Maloney declined comment.

“I can’t answer that question because it is an ongoing investigation,” she said.

Massey and Maloney also declined to talk about “Mr. Vigue,” the person identified in court as the target of the shooting. Asked if she had spoken with Vigue, Maloney responded: “Answering that question would talk about the details of the investigation and I’m not allowed to discuss an open investigation.”

Maloney said Loabe is scheduled to appear in the Capital Judicial Center Court in Augusta at 8:30 a.m. May 14 for a dispositional conference.

At such a conference, the defense attorney and prosecution talk to a judge about the strengths and weaknesses of the case and what the offer is on the case, according to Maloney. The judge gives an opinion of what he or she would do if hearing the case.

“It’s similar to a mediation with the judge where the state and defense discuss the case with the judge,” she said.

A grand jury will decide on charges, according to Maloney. The Kennebec County grand jury sits on the third Thursday of every month, but her office has three months to bring a case to the grand jury, she said.

“I don’t bring a case to the grand jury until the investigation is complete,” she said.

Lisa Whittier, the defense attorney of the day Monday who was appointed to represent Loabe, did not immediately return a phone call placed Tuesday to her Augusta office.

Meanwhile, Massey said when Emahleeah Frost was released from the hospital Thursday, her father called and said she wanted to thank police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who helped her after she was shot. She and her family went to the police station, where they did get to meet those who cared for her.

“It was just awesome to see her walk in,” Massey said. “She’s just an adorable little girl.”

He said it was the best-case scenario, and that she is expected to make a full recovery. The emergency workers were pleased to see her, according to Massey.

“She was not at all shy or intimidated by 25 or 30 adults,” he said.

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