An investigator searches the pond at Deering Oaks for evidence on Sept. 8, a day after the fatal shooting that claimed the life of Walter Omal, 31, of Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A man charged with murder following a shooting at Deering Oaks park last fall is scheduled for trial in November.

Portland police arrested Amin Awes Mohamed, 39, a day after investigators believe he shot and killed 31-year-old Walter Omal on Sept. 7  near a couple of benches facing a pond, close to the intersection of Park Avenue and State Street.

While dozens of officers spent days draining and wading through the park’s pond, trying without success to find the weapon, several Portland detectives searched for a “short black male, with long hair wearing all black clothing” who was seen leaving the area after the shooting. Other witnesses later described scars on the suspect’s head, which matched those Mohamed had from a recent fight.

In an affidavit shared this week by the Maine Attorney General’s Office, Detective Jessica Googins wrote that many witnesses whom police spoke to had seemed intoxicated and often changed their stories. Police had to interview witnesses more than once in the 24 hours leading to Mohamed’s arrest.

Mohamed’s defense attorney, Peter Richard, declined to comment on the case Wednesday afternoon.

Mohamed was arraigned in November and pleaded not guilty, but months after it was unsealed, his arrest affidavit was still not included in his file at the Cumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday because of a filing error, according to court clerks.


At least three witnesses identified the shooter as a Black man wearing a rag with scars on his head, whose full name they didn’t know, but whom they did know by several nicknames such as “Lee” and “Ali,” according to the document.

One witness, who spoke with police as soon as they arrived at the “chaotic” scene where Omal was shot, said he saw the alleged shooter running down State Street with a woman whose name he couldn’t remember.

Shortly after an officer sent out that description to others on patrol, Mohamed was stopped near the park on Forest Avenue. He told police he had just left Chipotle and denied having any knowledge of what happened in Deering Oaks, according to the affidavit.

Police then found and detained a man and a woman, whom they said also matched the suspect’s description, leaving a nearby Big Apple gas station. The woman, Breanna Sok, would eventually tell detectives that she was Mohamed’s girlfriend and had spent most of the day with him at Deering Oaks.

Over several interviews, Sok said she had been sleeping and drinking at the park throughout the day until she and Mohamed got into a fight because he didn’t want her to drink, according to the affidavit.

After initially denying that she witnessed the shooting, Sok told police that Mohamed and Omal had been fighting just before she heard a pop, and that she had seen Mohamed with a gun earlier that day, the affidavit states.


“I think you saw him shoot this guy,” Detective Matthew Rider told Sok, according to the affidavit. “Well I know you saw him shoot this guy.”

“I saw him,” Sok said. “Everyone saw it … It happened so fast.”

Another witness, described as Omal’s uncle, said he was there when the fight broke out and tried to help his nephew. The man told police he had known “Lee” for more than 20 years, since they were kids.

In his follow-up interviews with police, Mohamed continued to deny he ever owned a gun. When police told him that his interview didn’t line up with what others were saying, Googins wrote that Mohamed “became defensive” and declined to answer any more questions. He said detectives were confusing him, and his head hurt. He showed them the large scar on top of his head from a fight where he said he was pushed so hard at the Comfort Inn and Suites in South Portland that the injury hospitalized him and put him in a coma.

When detectives left him by himself in an interview room to speak with others, Googins wrote, Mohamed fell asleep with his head on the table. 

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