Police investigate the scene of a multivehicle crash at the intersection of Elm and North streets that occurred in the wake of a shooting in Saco around noon Friday. Police said they found evidence that indicates one of the men who fled had been shot in the right arm. Police found drops of blood at the scene and a gun in the back seat of one of the cars. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

SACO – Police are searching for at least four suspects after occupants of two vehicles exchanged gunfire Friday just moments before one of the vehicles crashed into another car and a school bus.

Police activity on Union Street in Saco on Friday afternoon, where Saco police were responding to an “ongoing incident.” Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The violence in downtown Saco, which happened around noon, prompted a lockdown of Saco and Biddeford schools and a shelter-in-place order by police that was lifted early Friday night.

Saco police received a report of gunfire between two vehicles – a red Dodge Charger and a gray Honda HR-V – at the intersection of Elm and Temple streets shortly before noon, Saco Police said in a statement. Police said it wasn’t clear if the gunfire was from one car or both.

Both cars traveled up Elm Street to its intersection with North Street, where the Honda crashed into another car. The force of the collision propelled both cars into an Old Orchard Beach school bus, which was stopped. Four men were seen running from the Honda after the collision.

Police personnel gather behind Reny’s in Saco during a police incident Friday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Police said they found evidence that indicates one of the men who fled – he was wearing all dark clothing – had been shot in the right arm. Police found drops of blood at the scene and a gun in the back seat of the Honda.

The red Dodge Charger was found Friday evening in Standish, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said. After the sheriff’s office was made aware that a car involved in the Saco incident might be in Standish, law enforcement officers from several agencies began a search and found the car at a home off Route 25. The home and surrounding area was searched and no suspects were found.


A release from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Friday night said that there was no information or evidence that suspects from the Saco incident were in Standish. “At this time there are no known threats to the residents in the town of Standish,” the sheriff’s office said.

Friday afternoon, police had ordered people in downtown Saco to shelter in place and ordered a lockdown of area schools as they searched for the four men. Students were dismissed later in the afternoon, with police at the schools. The shelter-in-place order was lifted early Friday night as the search for the suspects continued.

Police released photos of three of the suspects. Authorities ask anyone with information regarding the suspects, the shooting or the crashes to contact the Saco Police Department at 207-284-4535. Saco Police Department photo


Students in the school bus saw the four men get out of their car and run away, said John Suttie, superintendent of schools in RSU 23, which includes Old Orchard Beach High School. Suttie said some of the five students on the bus took pictures of the men fleeing the car and shared the photos with Saco police.

Police released photos of three suspects Friday night, including one photographed from the back wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt and a ski mask. Two of the men were photographed from the front. One is wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and the other is wearing a cream or white hooded sweatshirt. Both of their faces can be seen.

Saco Police asked anyone with information about the men, the shooting or the accident to contact police at SacoPD@sacomaine.org or by calling 207-284-4535.


The investigation is being handled by Saco Police and federal authorities.

At one point while searching for the suspects Friday afternoon, police appeared focused on a house on Scamman Street Extension, a dead-end road off of North Street. One officer had a long gun pointed at the building.

Andrew Gaines, who owns the house, said he came home around 2 p.m. to find officers surrounding his property and a large armored vehicle parked in his driveway. He said police told him that they found blood on his shed and leading into the house. By 3:30 p.m., police said officers had cleared his shed and were preparing to use a drone to search inside the house.

A police officer searches a yard off North Street in Saco for four men who fled the scene of a multivehicle crash Friday just minutes after a shooting. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Gaines said an officer told him that they are looking for four suspects. He and his father, Roger Bergeron, were standing at the end of the street and watching police, waiting for updates. Bergeron said police had at least two K-9 units.

Lisa Flynn, who lives next door to the house being searched, waited next to her car with her neighbors. She said she went out to lunch with a friend and was planning to shop on Main Street when she started hearing sirens.

She decided to head home, but found her street blocked by officers. She said she’s nervous and worried about her two dogs at home.


“This is a quiet street,” she said.

Thornton Academy, in downtown Saco, kept the public aware of the shelter-in-place order and lockdowns during the afternoon on social media and posted again when students were safely dismissed.

Police with a K9 search yards off North St. in Saco following reports of a shooting Friday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Neither the Old Orchard Beach bus driver nor any of the students was hurt in the collision, Suttie said. The bus was taking students from Old Orchard Beach to the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology. They had to stay on the bus in Saco for about 45 minutes and were later cleared to leave by police and returned to Old Orchard Beach, Suttie said. While the bus was in Saco, Suttie said Old Orchard Beach school officials were in touch with their parents.


One man who witnessed the collision said he was sitting at a red light on Elm Street when the SUV sped past him in the wrong lane to his left. In the intersection, it T-boned a Chrysler that was going through the green light. The crash pushed the Chrysler into the school bus.

“Ten to 15 seconds later, three to four men in ski masks jumped out of the SUV and ran toward Thornton Academy,” said the man, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Eli.


He said the driver of the Chrysler got out unharmed, but “she was not happy.”

In a video Eli recorded just after the crash, a red car with a shattered rear passenger window was following close behind the SUV and then sped off.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were in the area Friday afternoon, including police from Saco, Buxton, Kittery, Wells, Old Orchard Beach and Scarborough, the York and Cumberland county sheriff’s departments, Maine State Police, the FBI and U.S. Marshals.

Police had been staging in the parking lot of the nearby Reny’s department store, which closed early for the day. Cheyenne Martin, of Saco, was in the area for an appointment and to shop at Reny’s when she saw police officers and the blocked off streets.

“It’s pretty scary,” she said. “There are a lot of people in the community and a lot of kids out. It’s really sad to know things like this can happen.”

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