PORTLAND (AP) – Maine’s attorney general has found that a state trooper who shot and wounded a Limerick man armed with a pellet gun was justified in using deadly force.

Steven Rowe announced Monday that Trooper Jack Dow was justified when he shot Thomas Harrington, 37, in the abdomen in January.

The Jan. 21 shooting followed a phone call to the York County Sheriff’s Office reporting a tall, thin man carrying a handgun walking south on Route 5 in Limerick.

The gun was later found to be a pellet gun powered by a carbon dioxide cartridge that was a replica of a German nine-millimeter Luger.

The four-page report also found that York County Sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Roger Hicks was justified in shooting at Harrington.

That shot did not injure Harrington.

The report said Hicks, the first officer on the scene, asked Harrington several times to lay down his weapon. Harrington repeatedly refused. When Harrington pointed his gun at a fellow deputy who had arrived at the scene, Hicks fired.

In the meantime, Dow had taken a position near the bridge over the Little Ossipee River, which divides Limerick and North Waterboro.

As Harrington approached on foot, Dow, who was armed with a rifle, retreated several times, the report found. Eventually, a state police sergeant radioed Dow and told him not to let Harrington get past his cruiser because of the potential danger to vehicles backed up nearby.

According to the report, Dow, an eight-year veteran of the force, shot Harrington once in the stomach following several attempts to convince him to put down the gun.

State law requires the office to review all incidents involving the use of deadly force by a law-enforcement officer.

Harrington was treated at Maine Medical Center and survived the shooting.

Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety said Dow, who has been on paid administrative leave since shortly after the shooting, will return to work Friday.

AP-ES-03-30-04 0216EST



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