RUMFORD — A small town and its police force were rocked by tragedy Thursday when they lost one of their own.
Eric Richard, 46, an administrative officer with the Rumford Police Department, was shot three times by a Maine Warden and killed Thursday morning.
Authorities had spent the night trying to find him in the woods behind his home on Cedar Lane.
Maine wardens and Troopers Kyle Tilsley and Adam Fillebrown, with his tracking dog, were searching for Richard in the woods around 10 a.m. on Thursday according to a release issued by Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider’s office.
An armed confrontation occurred between Richard and Warden Jeremy Judd, 34, according to the release.
Richard died of gunshot wounds, fired by Judd.
The manner of death — whether it was accidental, suicidal or homicidal — is to be determined by the state Medical Examiner’s office.
During the day, the end of Cedar Lane was closed to traffic as the Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation. Game wardens were seen darting around the woods on ATVs. The Maine State Police mobile command unit, the Medical Examiner's office and the Oxford County Sheriff's Office were also on scene.
Richard was well-known in the community for conducting the police department's Child Identification Program at public events.
He won a malpractice lawsuit in 2005 against Dr. Eric Omsberg, a Waterville neurosurgeon. Richard’s suit maintained Omsberg had severed a critical vein during an operation, leaving Richard with a permanently swollen and painful leg.
Richard, a former patrolman, was required to work as a dispatcher after the surgery because he had to be on blood thinners. Richard's lawyer at the time, Jodi Nofsinger, said if he sustained an injury, he could bleed to death.
Richard lived with his wife Tamera at the end of Cedar Lane. The couple grew up together in Peru and attended Rumford High School.
Tamera is an employee at Rumford Hospital and has two sons, Steve Smith and Nicholas Smith.
Nicholas is a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and works on an anti-terrorism team. He is deployed overseas. Tamera had set up a Facebook event planning a homecoming party for her son next week.
In support of Richard's wife, friends Thursday changed their Facebook profile pictures to a blue candle.
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