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Report of Attorney General William J. Schneider on the Use of Deadly Force by State Police Trooper on July 1, 2012 in Hermon
December 31, 2012
On Sunday night, July 1, 2012, Michael McKay, 24, was shot by State Police Trooper Gregory Roy during an armed confrontation outside Mr. McKay?s home on Buck Lane in Hermon.
On July 1, Michael McKay met with his estranged wife to discuss divorce proceedings. Later that afternoon, Mr. McKay drove to Orrington where he purchased a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun equipped with a laser sight. He also purchased a box of ammunition for the gun.
Not long after making the purchase, Mr. McKay drove to a residence in Kenduskeag where he believed that his wife was staying. Once there, Mr. McKay, drinking a beer, threatened a man in the residence with the handgun he had just purchased in Orrington by pointing the gun at the man?s head. The man tried to grab the gun and the two struggled. As the man was trying to push Mr. McKay out the door, he told Mr. McKay that he was going to call the police. Mr. McKay held the gun to his own head, and told the man that he (McKay) would not be going to jail and that ?no one is going to take me.? Upon leaving the residence, Mr. McKay fired three rounds from his handgun into his wife?s unoccupied vehicle, which was parked outside the residence. In the meantime, the wife and her companion had arrived at the residence in Kenduskeag but, upon seeing Mr. McKay?s vehicle parked at the residence, they drove to the McKay residence in Hermon. Once in Hermon the wife found a bag containing her clothes outside the residence. She went into the residence to check on her dog and to retrieve a laptop computer. She noticed several empty beer bottles inside the residence that had not been there earlier in the day when she met with Mr. McKay.
The wife and her companion left the Hermon residence and, shortly after, received a call from Mr. McKay. Mr. McKay told her he was back at the residence in Hermon and that he noticed that she had been there and taken the laptop computer. He told her she needed to return to the residence, but she declined and ended the call. During the next five hours, Mr. McKay called his wife?s cell phone 30 times and left two messages. In the last message, he said ?the troopers are here to get me, but they?re not gonna take me.?
Two State Police troopers were the first to arrive at the McKay residence in Hermon. Shortly after arrival, they heard gunshots from the rear of the residence. One of the troopers observed a person later determined to be Mr. McKay inside the residence with a laser sight that he was pointing outside into a wooded area. As other officers from the State Police and the Penobscot County Sheriff?s Office arrived, they positioned themselves around the residence. One of the officers observed Mr. McKay come out onto a front deck and raise a handgun with a laser sight. The officer also observed Mr. McKay waving the handgun in a semi-circular fashion. The same officer saw Mr. McKay go back inside the residence where he pointed the handgun?s laser out various windows into wooded areas around the residence. Several officers heard at least one gunshot coming from inside the residence.
One of the deputies spoke with Mr. McKay?s neighbor, who said she had spoken with Mr. McKay on the telephone and asked him why the police were in the woods around his home. Mr. McKay reportedly told the neighbor that he didn?t know, but during a subsequent phone conversation minutes later, he said he did know. The deputy, using the neighbor?s telephone, then spoke directly with Mr. McKay, who sounded intoxicated and angry. Mr. McKay denied having a gun and refused to come out of his residence. He eventually hung up, but the deputy and Mr. McKay spoke again and Mr. McKay told him that he believed his wife was having an affair and that he had just signed divorce paperwork. Mr. McKay told the deputy that he knew the officers were ?in the shadows of the woods? and asked where they were hiding. Some members of the State Police Tactical Team and the Crisis Negotiation Team had already arrived at the location, but the remainder of the Tactical Team was summoned at this time. While telephone contact was later re-established between Mr. McKay and a police negotiator, Mr. McKay refused to come out of the residence. He told the negotiator that he knew the police were in the woods around his residence.
Members of the Tactical Team were deployed in positions around the residence, relieving the initial responding officers occupying those positions. One of the members of the team so deployed was Trooper Gregory Roy. Not long after the Tactical Team?s arrival, Mr. McKay was observed pacing back and forth inside his residence, and scanning outside the residence with the laser on his weapon. Mr. McKay came out of the residence onto the front deck and stood in the open doorway. While talking on a telephone , he pointed his weapon and scanned the laser as if searching for someone. He fired two shots in the general direction of at least two members of the Tactical Team. Simultaneously, having observed Mr. McKay point his weapon as if to fire it, Trooper Roy fired at Mr. McKay. A single shot struck Mr. McKay in the leg, whereupon he fell in a backwards motion into the residence. Within seconds, a single gunshot was heard from inside the residence. It was later determined that Mr. McKay had killed himself once back inside the residence with a single self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Dr. Edward David of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an investigation at the scene, and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Margaret Greenwald later conducted a post mortem examination in which she determined the cause of Mr. McKay?s death to be a single .40 caliber close contact gunshot wound to the head and the manner to be suicide. Mr. McKay?s blood-alcohol content (BAC) at the time of his death was 0.243%.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Attorney General is charged by law with investigating any use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer 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, is reasonably generated by the facts so as to preclude criminal prosecution. The review does not include whether there could be any 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 to be justified in using deadly force for self-defense or the defense of others, two requirements must be met. First, the person must reasonably believe that deadly force is imminently threatened against the person or against someone else, and, second, the person must reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to counter that imminent threat.
Attorney General William J. Schneider has concluded that at the time shots were fired at Mr. McKay by Trooper Roy, it was reasonable for Trooper Roy to believe that deadly force was imminently threatened against himself and other officers. In addition, it was reasonable for Trooper Roy to believe that it was necessary for him to use deadly force to protect himself and other officers from the imminent threat of deadly force posed against them by Mr. McKay?s actions. This conclusion is based on an extensive scene investigation, interviews with numerous individuals, review of medical records, and all other evidence made available from any source.
CONTACT: Martha Demeritt (207) 626-8599