AUGUSTA — The fatal shooting of a Jefferson man by a Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy last year following an armed confrontation was legally justified, the Maine Attorney General’s Office has announced.

A four-page report in a letter Friday to Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett on the shooting of Jacob E. McClure concluded that Deputy David Bellows acted in self-defense and in defense of other deputies and a woman in McClure’s house when Bellows shot McClure on Dec. 18.

“Deputy Bellows knew that Mr. McClure had earlier assaulted the woman in the residence with him,” the report states. “The deputy sheriffs had clearly identified themselves as law enforcement and had directed him repeatedly to drop his gun. Instead, he aimed the rifle at Deputy (Jerold) Winslow and then Deputy Bellows. All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that Deputy Bellows acted in self defense … when he shot Mr. McClure.”

Bellows shot McClure five times after McClure pointed a gun described in the report as a short-barreled AR-15 style rifle.

The letter contained additional details about the circumstances that led to the shooting.

McClure, 41, had closed himself off in a room at his house after Bellows, Winslow and sheriff’s Sgt. Matthew Day tracked the location of a 911 call made at 12:25 a.m. to a home at 50 Rockland Road in Jefferson.

During the call, a Lincoln County dispatcher heard an argument between a man and a woman, during which the man — later identified as McClure — threatened the woman and was heard to say “this will not end well.”

Day had entered the home after seeing an altercation between a man and a woman through a sliding glass door. He told McClure to take his hands off the woman but McClure said they were engaged in “theater” and told Day to leave. When Day said there was a 911 call, the woman denied making it.

After Bellows and Winslow entered the home, McClure told them to leave, too, before he  locked himself in a room down the hall.

From behind the locked door, McClure told the woman to make the deputies leave, and told the deputies they needed to leave after Winslow tried to speak with him through the door. He said he had post-traumatic stress disorder and they were “doing something called psychological theater.”

Bellows confirmed the woman had made the 911 call after learning her mobile phone number, the report said. She said she had not meant to call the emergency number and that McClure would be angry thinking she had called 911 on him. During a conversation with Bellows, the woman indicated she was afraid of McClure and she would not press charges against him for the assault that Day witnessed. When asked if McClure had weapons in the room where he was, “she didn’t answer and appeared to hyperventilate.”

Day told Winslow that McClure was going to be arrested, but McClure refused to open the door. When Winslow broke through the door, the report states, McClure was pointing the gun at Winslow’s head. Winslow yelled “Gun!” and with Day they retreated to a bathroom.

Bellows ordered McClure to put down the gun or he would shoot him. McClure demanded to see the woman and Bellows tried to prevent her from walking down the hallway, believing she would be shot. When Bellows repositioned himself, he saw McClure holding his rifle at waist level and shot him, the report said.

The rifle was loaded with 27 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, and McClure’s right index finger was on the trigger when he was shot. Thirty-five other firearms were stored in the room with McClure as well as an assortment of ammunition.

The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that McClure’s blood alcohol content at the time of the postmortem examination was 0.198%.

The purpose of the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office was to determine whether Bellows’ actions were justified, and did not include analysis of whether any personnel action was warranted, whether the use of deadly force could have been averted or whether civil liability exists.

Bellows, who had been on leave since December, resigned from the sheriff’s office effective Sept. 3.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.