The Maine Attorney General's Office has ruled the police-involved fatal shooting of a man at an Augusta homeless shelter was a case of self-defense.

Where Did This Occur?

The report posted on the website for the Maine Office of the Attorney General states that the incident began when Dustin Paradis, 34, of Augusta, and another man got into an argument while preparing their meals in the kitchen of the Bread of Life Homeless Shelter in Augusta on October 13th, 2021. A shelter employee walked into the kitchen and tried to mediate the situation, but Paradis picked up a knife from a nearby butcher block. The employee told him to put it down and, when he did, Paradis was told he had to leave. At this point, officials say Paradis picked up a bowl and threw it at the other man, striking him in the back of the head and causing him to fall to the floor. The report states that Paradis grabbed a knife and tried to cut an X pattern on his arms, but was unsuccessful. He threw that knife down and grabbed another, slicing up and down his arms.

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At this point, police were called to intervene while a shelter employee tried to calm Paradis down. The worker said that the agitated man told her he wanted to die and punched and kicked in cupboards. When Paradis got too close to her with his knife, she exited the room and went to another area where the injured man was being attended to by staff members.

How Did It Escalate?

Augusta Police arrived on the scene and found Paradis shut in the kitchen, with two men attending to a bleeding man outside that area. Responding to the call were Officer Sebastian Guptill, Sergeant Christopher Blodgett, and Officer Joshua Gallagher. When Officer Guptill pushed open the kitchen door, officials say he saw an enraged Paradis with a butcher's knife, facing the door, telling them to shoot and kill him. Police repeatedly told Paradis to put down the knife, with the same response from the distraught man. According to the report, Paradis finally shouted "Kill me (expletive)" before charging the officers with the knife. At this point, the officers fired their weapons. Mr. Paradis died of multiple gunshot wounds.

What was the Conclusion of the Attorney General's Investigation?

Whenever there is a police-involved shooting, it is standard procedure that the details be investigated by the Maine Office of the Attorney General. The conclusion of that investigation has been posted on the AG's website:

When Officer Guptill and Sergeant Blodgett shot Mr. Paradis, they reasonably believed that Mr. Paradis posed an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to themselves and others at the shelter.

It goes on to say that Paradis was highly agitated and ignored repeated demands to drop the knife. After repeatedly urging the officers to kill him, and with the wounded man lying nearby, Paradis charged the officers with a large knife. The report states that the officers "reasonably believed that Mr. Paradis was about to use unlawful deadly force against them or others." The conclusion is that Officer Guptill and Sergeant Blodgett acted in self-defense of themselves and others at the time they used deadly force.

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