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Report of Attorney General William J. Schneider on the Use of Deadly Force by State Police Trooper in Edinburg on August 14, 2012
December 31, 2012
On Tuesday evening, August 14, 2012, Warren Dome, 54, was shot and wounded by State Police Trooper Christopher Hashey during an armed confrontation near Mr. Dome’s home on the Edinburg Road in Edinburg.
On August 14, at 5:29 p.m., the Orono Regional Communications Center received a 911 telephone call from a man in Edinburg. The caller identified himself as “Fred Baun.” The caller was later identified as Warren Dome of Edinburg. Mr. Dome told the dispatcher that “you need to come down to 682 Edinburg Road in Edinburg.” Mr. Dome said that he did not “want to go on anymore.” When the dispatcher asked what he meant, Mr. Dome told the dispatcher to “figure it out.” When asked if he was going to hurt himself, Mr. Dome said that he did not know what he wanted to do. Mr. Dome told the dispatcher that he was a veteran, that there were “mean hummingbirds” around his house, and acknowledged that he had been drinking. Mr. Dome was asked if he had any weapons and he replied “maybe.” He also told the dispatcher that he had a garbage can, a mean gray squirrel, and a 185-pound dumbbell set. According to Mr. Dome, he was alone and he did not want to hurt anyone else. He told the dispatcher to “send the militia” and that he was “not going to go down easy.” Mr. Dome then terminated the call.
Trooper Christopher Hashey, who was patrolling Interstate 95 in an unmarked State Police cruiser, was dispatched to the call. Trooper Hashey was alerted to the possibility that Mr. Dome could be suicidal. The trooper was told that Mr. Dome indicated that he did not want to go on anymore and that he would not “go down easy.” Trooper Hashey was also advised that Mr. Dome would not say if he had any weapons. The dispatcher who had spoken with Mr. Dome told Trooper Hashey that he felt that Mr. Dome was a “real threat.” While Trooper Hashey was receiving this information, a dispatcher re-established telephone contact with Mr. Dome. Mr. Dome told the dispatcher, “You had better get your asses down here, because I’m done.” Mr. Dome further stated, “The only casualties are going to be on your side.” This information was relayed to Trooper Hashey and other responding officers.
On the way to the call, Trooper Hashey met up with a Penobscot County deputy sheriff, Raymond Goodspeed. Deputy Goodspeed and Trooper Hashey proceeded to the Dome residence on the Edinburg Road together in Trooper Hashey’s unmarked cruiser. According to Deputy Goodspeed, the Penobscot County Regional Communications Center informed him that it, too, had received a call from Mr. Dome and that, during the call, Mr. Dome remarked that the only casualties would be law enforcement. Trooper Hashey and Deputy Goodspeed were also made aware that Mr. Dome had been previously involved in a domestic dispute at the same residence on the Edinburg Road.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Trooper Hashey and Deputy Goodspeed drove by Mr. Dome’s residence, which was located about 150 feet from the Edinburg Road. They observed a woman approaching the residence. This foiled a plan to approach the residence tactically. Believing they had to act immediately to prevent this person from reaching the residence, the officers turned around, stopped at the driveway entrance, and got out of the unmarked cruiser. Both officers were in uniform and drew their service weapons. The officers observed the woman and a man and determined that the man was not Mr. Dome. The man told the officers that he and the woman had extinguished a small fire in the roadway at the entrance of the driveway, and were approaching the residence to speak with Mr. Dome, whom they knew. The officers told the couple to leave. As the couple was getting into their vehicle, the officers saw another man, later determined to be Mr. Dome, emerge from behind his house with a large knife in his hand. Trooper Hashey initially moved toward Mr. Dome in order to place himself between Mr. Dome and the man and woman who were getting into their vehicle in the driveway, but started moving away from Mr. Dome when the man and woman left the driveway in their vehicle. Mr. Dome continued to approach Trooper Hashey while displaying the knife in a threatening manner.
As Trooper Hashey walked backwards down the driveway toward the Edinburg Road, Mr. Dome continued to move toward him with the knife. Both Trooper Hashey and Deputy Goodspeed issued repeated commands for Mr. Dome to drop the knife. Mr. Dome was closing the distance between him and Trooper Hashey as the trooper reached the end of the driveway and entered the roadway. Additional commands to drop the knife went unheeded as Mr. Dome continued to move closer to Trooper Hashey. Mr. Dome did not stop advancing on Trooper Hashey and when he was within ten feet of Trooper Hashey and still advancing, Trooper Hashey fired two rounds. Both rounds struck Mr. Dome and he fell to the ground. Mr. Dome was taken into custody and given immediate first aid by Trooper Hashey and Deputy Goodspeed until the arrival of other officers and emergency medical services. Mr. Dome was treated at the scene and transported by helicopter to a Bangor hospital.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Attorney General is charged by law with investigating the circumstances under which any law enforcement officer uses deadly force in Maine while acting in the performance of the officer's duties. The sole purpose of the Attorney General’s investigation is to determine whether self-defense or the defense of others, as defined by law, was reasonably generated by the facts so as to preclude criminal prosecution. The review does not include an analysis of potential civil liability, whether any administrative action is warranted, or whether the use of deadly force could have been averted. Under Maine law, for any person, including a law enforcement officer, to be justified in using deadly force in self-defense or the defense of others, two requirements must be met. First, the person must actually and reasonably believe that unlawful deadly force is imminently threatened against the person or someone else, and, second, the person must actually and reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to counter that imminent threat.
Whether deadly force by a law enforcement officer is reasonable is based on the totality of the particular circumstances, and must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, allowing for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. The analysis requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of a particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others, and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
Attorney General William J. Schneider has concluded that at the time Trooper Hashey fired his weapon at Mr. Dome, it was reasonable for Trooper Hashey to believe that deadly force was imminently threatened against him, and it was reasonable for Trooper Hashey to believe that it was necessary for him to use deadly force to protect himself from the imminent threat of unlawful deadly force posed by the actions of Mr. Dome. The Attorney General’s conclusions are based on an extensive scene investigation, interviews with numerous individuals, and review of all evidence made available from any source.
It is beyond the scope of this report and beyond the authority and expertise of the Attorney General’s Office to determine or speculate on Mr. Dome’s motivations, his state of mind, or the medical or psychological underpinnings of his behavior and actions on August 14, 2012, in Edinburg.
CONTACT: Martha Demeritt, (207)626-8599