Police shooting justified, AG says

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AUGUSTA (AP) – South Portland police officers were legally justified when they shot and killed a 40-year-old man at the home where he was living with his parents, Attorney General Stephen Rowe said Tuesday.

Rowe’s investigation found that Officers Theodore Sargent and Jeffrey Cogswell fired four rounds each at Donald Gray, who had shut himself in his bedroom with a handgun following an argument with his parents on the evening of Nov. 29.

Sargent and Cogswell said Gray ignored repeated orders to put down his 9mm pistol and they shot him when he raised the weapon and pointed it at Cogswell, the investigation found.

In addition, Cogswell said he distinctly recalled hearing the sound of a magazine being inserted into the gun and the action being worked as if a round were being chambered before the officers saw Gray with the pistol in his hand.

Gray and the officers were approximately 3 to 4 feet apart at the time of the shooting.

Rowe concluded that the Sargent and Cogswell had reason to believe that Gray posed a deadly threat and that their use of deadly force was necessary to protect themselves and each other.

The officers were placed on administrative leave for about three weeks following the shooting before being returned to duty. The attorney general’s review is required by law in cases in which a law enforcement officer uses deadly force in the line of duty.

Following the shooting, Gray’s father expressed outrage at the shooting, saying that police used excessive force and that he would never have called for their help had he known how they would respond.

Herb Gray, 74, said he sought a crisis team to defuse the situation, which arose from an argument over his son’s pending court case stemming from thousands of dollars of credit card debt.

Donald Gray had been living with his parents for the past few years but was told he must move out, the investigation found.

AP-ES-01-09-07 1616EST

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