Augusta police Officer Sabastian Guptill, right, and Sgt. Christopher Blodgett raise their guns toward Dustin J. Paradis on Oct. 13, 2021, at the Bread of Life Shelter at 155 Hospital St. in Augusta, moments before they shot and killed the knife-wielding man. The Office of the Maine Attorney General has determined the officers were acting in defense of themselves and others, according to a report released Friday. Video screenshot

AUGUSTA — Two police officers were acting in defense of themselves and others when they shot and killed an autistic man at an Augusta shelter who had rushed toward them with a knife and told them to kill him, independent investigators have concluded.

That finding is part of an investigation by the Office of the Maine Attorney General into the use of deadly force by Augusta police Officer Sebastian Guptill and Sgt. Christopher Blodgett when they confronted Dustin J. Paradis shortly after 6 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2021, at the Bread of Life Shelter at 155 Hospital St.

According to the report, issued Friday, Guptill and Blodgett “reasonably believed” that Paradis, 34, posed an imminent threat of serious injury or death to themselves and others at the homeless shelter.

“Mr. Paradis was highly agitated and ignored repeated commands to drop the knife,” the report reads. “He urged the officers to kill him and then charged at them with the knife while the victim of his assault still lay bleeding at the officers’ feet. All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that Officer Guptill and Sgt. Blodgett were acting in self-defense and the defense of others at the time they used deadly force.”

Officers were called to the Bread of Life Shelter for a report of a man armed with a knife and threatening other residents.

When Guptill and Blodgett arrived, followed by Officer Joshua Gallagher, they found two shelter workers on the floor outside the kitchen area helping a bleeding man, according to the report. When they opened the kitchen door, they saw Paradis facing them holding a large chef’s knife described as 13 inches long with a 7-inch blade.


Guptill gave commands to drop the knife, but, according to the report, Paradis repeatedly responded by telling the officers to shoot and kill him. In response to another command to put down the knife, Paradis charged at the officers with the knife in his hand. When he was within 3 feet of Guptill and Blodgett, they both shot Paradis, who fell to the floor and died at the scene.

The findings were contained in a letter from Attorney General Aaron Frey to Augusta police Chief Jared Mills.

Dustin J. Paradis holds a knife in a video image taken Oct. 13, 2021, at the Bread of Life Shelter at 155 Hospital St. in Augusta. The image comes moments before Paradis steps toward two Augusta police officers, who repeatedly asked Paradis to drop the knife before they shot and killed him. Video screenshot

Paradis’ mother, Tammy Woodcock, declined to give a comment on the report Monday. In an interview with the Kennebec Journal following her son’s death, however, she questioned why Paradis’ family was not contacted immediately when he was in crisis, why no mental health worker was involved and why officers did not use less-lethal tactics against her son.

Woodcock said Paradis was caring and kind to others, but sometimes, if he had stopped taking his medications, he would fall into a rage and lash out by damaging objects, such as kitchen cabinets.

“My son has had 51 interactions with (police in Terre Haute), and not once was a weapon ever unsheathed (by police), because my son is not a threat,” Woodcock said, referencing encounters in the Indiana city where she lived. “There is no reason they had to shoot him. This is not a criminal. He has never been the first one to hit somebody, ever.”

An Augusta Police Department investigation in 2021 of the shooting death of Paradis determined no corrective or disciplinary action was warranted. Both officers returned to work in mid-November.

This is the second shooting incident in which Guptill has been involved. The first incident in 2019 was not a fatal shooting.

For as long as officer-involved shooting cases have been tracked in Maine, the investigations have found officers acted in defense of themselves or others.

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