Ag Finds Sanford Officers Justified In May 26 Shooting

June 28, 2006


Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that two Sanford police officers, Scott Foisy and Richard Bucklin, were legally justified when they shot and wounded Jillian Christensen Daniels, 26, in Sanford in the early morning of May 26, 2006.

The Attorney General's investigation focused on the issue of whether the use of deadly force by the officers in the particular situation was legally justified. The Attorney General is required by law to review all occurrences in which a law enforcement officer uses deadly force while in the performance of the officer's public duty.

Under Maine law, for a law enforcement officer to be justified in using deadly force for purposes of self-protection or the protection of third persons, two requirements must be met. First, the officer must actually and reasonably believe that unlawful deadly force is imminently threatened against the officer or a third person. Second, the officer must actually and reasonably believe that the officer's use of deadly force is necessary to meet or counter that imminent threat of unlawful deadly force. Attorney General Rowe determined, based on the investigation conducted by his office and the application of controlling Maine law, that Officers Foisy and Bucklin actually and reasonably believed that unlawful deadly force was being imminently threatened by Jillian Christensen Daniels against them and that the use of deadly force on their part was necessary to thwart that threat. Therefore, both requirements of the law having been met, the use of deadly force by Officers Foisy and Bucklin was legally justified.

The Attorney General reported the following findings from his office's investigation:

The Sanford Police Department was notified that a New Hampshire warrant charging armed robbery had been issued for the arrest of Jillian Christensen Daniels of Sanford. Investigation by the department established Daniels' likely whereabouts as a residence in Sanford. During the late evening hours of May 25, 2006, two officers in plain clothes conducting surveillance observed Daniels in the residence. Thereafter, a uniformed officer attempted to make contact with Daniels. The officer's knock at the door was met with lights in the residence being extinguished. It became obvious to the officers that Daniels was attempting to conceal her presence in the residence. Given the particular circumstances, the Special Response Team of the Sanford Police Department was summoned. Among other things, members of the team are specially trained to execute arrest warrants. The team also includes negotiators.

Further investigation established that Daniels' grandmother and husband were in the residence with her. It was also established that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Daniels' husband. A negotiator spoke by telephone with the grandmother, who declined to leave the residence and denied that there were any firearms in the residence. The negotiator, as well as members of the Special Response Team, overheard two women in the residence, believed at the time to be the grandmother and Daniels, arguing. Thereafter, the negotiator spoke briefly with Daniels by telephone; Daniels claimed to have a loaded rifle and that the rifle was in her mouth. In the same conversation, Daniels referred to the firearm as a shotgun. At about the same time, a member of the Special Response Team observed Daniels armed with what the officer believed to be a rifle and heard the sound of what he believed to be the action being worked on a long-barreled gun. Another officer observed Daniels, holding what appeared to be a rifle or a shotgun, arguing with a man later determined to be her husband.

Daniels told the negotiator several times that she was going to kill herself; she also told the negotiator that she would engage the police with her weapon so that they would respond by shooting her. Other officers also heard these statements from their positions outside the residence.

Officers Foisy and Bucklin were among members of the Special Response Team who took up positions outside the residence. At one point, Officer Bucklin heard Daniels through an open window tell the negotiator on the telephone that she was armed and intended to kill herself. Bucklin also heard Daniels tell the negotiator that she would shoot herself if the police attempted to enter the residence. Bucklin then overheard Daniels tell the negotiator that she was going to walk out onto a second floor roof and that if she saw police officers, she was going to shoot them. Daniels stepped out of a second story window onto a flat roof at the rear of the residence. Her position placed her in close proximity to Officers Foisy and Bucklin, who were positioned near the residence on the ground. Officers illuminated Daniels and observed her armed with what appeared to be a shotgun. Officer Bucklin and other officers issued commands for Daniels to relinquish the weapon. Daniels responded by walking to the edge of the roof closest to Officers Foisy and Bucklin. At a distance of 10-12 feet, Daniels pointed the weapon at Officer Bucklin while looking directly at him. Both Officers Bucklin and Foisy shot at Daniels. Later investigation determined that the officers discharged a total of seven rounds.

Daniels was struck by gunfire in the right shoulder. She fell to the roof and was immediately provided first aid by two other officers. Daniels was later transported by emergency medical personnel to the Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment. Thereafter, she was charged by the York County District Attorney with criminal threatening, as well as the offense of creating a police standoff. After an arraignment on those charges, Daniels was transferred to the custody of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in New Hampshire.

Detectives from the Office of the Attorney General went to the scene of the shooting in Sanford to conduct the investigation. They were assisted in the investigation by detectives from the State Police, as well as personnel from the State Police Crime Laboratory. The Sanford Police Department cooperated fully with the investigation and is conducting its own departmental review of the incident.