50 years ago: Town gunfight

“Miracle Spares Policemen, By-Standers in Gun Fight” was a front-page headline in the American Journal June 28, 1972.

In the exchange of gunfire between police and two men who broke away from a Vermont jail, Patrolman Harold “Buzzy” Stultz emptied his handgun before facing a gun barrel 3 feet away, but the suspect didn’t fire, according to the article. Off-duty officer Frank Donahue, who was unarmed, witnessed the exchange but was not hurt.

As many as 14 bullets flew in a gunfight in downtown Westbrook, according to news accounts, before the fugitives fled in a car they had stolen in Standish.

The pair were chased by Officer Dennis Rowell and Stultz and Donahue, who pursued the stolen vehicle in Donahue’s private car to Portland, where 25 shots were fired in a running gun battle.

The report said officers in 25 police cars searched through five communities for the outlaws. The two men were apprehended later that day in Scarborough after firing at state troopers, one of whom shot a suspect in the neck. The injured man was taken to a local hospital and recovered.
Mike Sanphy, president of Westbrook Historical Society, said the other suspect was apprehended on Route 1 the next day. Sanphy, an off-duty Westbrook police officer at the time, said the man was spotted walking near the State Police barracks.

Both of the fugitives were arrested and transported back to Vermont, according to Sanphy.

Summer concert series schedule

Josephine County will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, June 24, at Conant Homestead at 99 Conant St. The concert is free with a suggested donation of $10.

Free concerts at Riverbank Park continue with David Good at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 28. Enjoy the park performance with food and refreshments from the American Legion Post 62 concession stand.

The Vallee Square free concert series will join Westbrook’s summer lineup at 7 p.m. July 7 with a performance by Allman Brothers Tribute. Enjoy takeout from downtown restaurants. A limited number of tables are available or concert-goers can bring a lawn chair.

Comments are not available on this story.