AUGUSTA — The Attorney General’s office has ruled that an Androscoggin County deputy was justified in firing three shots at a suspect trying to ram the deputy’s cruiser.

Michael Callahan, 44, of Auburn is charged with reckless conduct after attempting to ram Androscoggin County Deputy Denis Sampson’s cruiser on Goodwin Road in Minot on May 24. Neither Sampson nor Callahan was hurt.

Sampson was driving to where it was reported that Callahan’s wife’s vehicle was being rammed, according to a statement from the Office of the Attorney General. Sampson reported he saw Callahan’s red Ford Avalanche pickup truck and pursued it with emergency lights and siren. During the chase, a dispatcher told Sampson that Callahan was possibly armed.

The chase continued for 2 miles at speeds reaching 60 mph. Callahan’s truck stopped at Goodwin and Pottle Hill roads. The truck moved in reverse toward Sampson’s cruiser. Sampson said he put his vehicle into reverse until it ended up in a ditch on the right side of Goodwin Road. The top of the cruiser was level with the road. The truck stopped at about the same point on the left side of Goodwin Road.

Sampson said he got out of his cruiser and could see the truck rocking but couldn’t see inside it. Sampson said he fired at the truck with his .40-caliber service weapon because he was worried Callahan would try to attack him.

Callahan fled in his truck.


The Attorney General’s statement said Sampson was justified in using his gun. “It was reasonable for Deputy Sampson to believe that deadly force was imminently threatened against him by Mr. Callahan’s actions,” according to the statement. “And it was reasonable for Deputy Sampson to believe that it was necessary for him to use deadly force to protect himself from the imminent threat of deadly force.”

Callahan has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges, including arson, aggravated assault, reckless conduct and violating conditions of his release.

If convicted, he faces the possibility of several decades in state prison.

Prosecutors believe Callahan burned down his family’s home, tried to burn his estranged wife’s mobile home in Mechanic Falls, rammed her minivan as she drove it and tried to run down Sampson.

The home in Mechanic Falls was damaged and the home in Minot was destroyed.

According to an affidavit written by Detective John R. Hainey of the Maine State Police, on May 24 Hainey responded to Greenwood Mountain Road in Hebron where Androscoggin County deputies and state troopers had stopped Callahan, who was driving a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck and was suspected in an arson at his home on Verrill Road in Minot.


After Callahan was stopped, Hainey drove to Mechanic Falls to meet with Lt. Paul Harrison of the Mechanic Falls Police Department, who was investigating an incident involving Callahan and his wife, Laurie, earlier that day.

Laurie Callahan works at Elm Street School and, after leaving the school parking lot, saw her husband’s car behind her and pulled into the parking lot of Our Lady of Ransom Church. There, police believe her husband drove up behind her and struck her car, a Ford Freestyle, spinning it around.

According to a witness, Callahan circled back and rammed his truck into his wife’s minivan two more times, damaging the right side.

Then, according to the same witness, Callahan got out of his truck and walked toward the Ford, and his wife jumped out of her car and fled. 

She was later transported to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.

The shooting occurred after Callahan left the church parking lot and before he was stopped by police in Hebron.


In December 2012, Callahan was involved in a police standoff at the family’s former Minot home after he threatened his wife and their children.

Four days before Christmas, the Callahan family was at home when Callahan and his 16-year-old daughter began to argue, according to Laurie Callahan.

Michael Callahan was being investigated by the state, accused of abusing his 12-year-old son. Callahan became “agitated” while talking to his daughter that night.

“He wouldn’t stop nagging her,” Laurie Callahan said.

His daughter called 911 and Laurie gathered the children and fled the house.

Michael Callahan held police at bay that night for more than six hours. He fired nearly 100 rounds from inside the house. He fired a high-powered rifle and a machine gun in the direction of police, who had surrounded his house, according to a report from the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Police later discovered an arsenal at the Minot home that included 22 handguns, 26 rifles and six shotguns.


Callahan has pleaded not guilty to all charges in that incident.

In the arson case, Callahan is believed to have purchased gasoline containers from a hardware store in Auburn, a self-igniting torch in Minot and then filled the gas containers at a station in Mechanic Falls before going to his wife’s home and then on to the family home in Minot.

As a condition of $10,000 cash bail issued for the December 2012 standoff, he was prohibited from having any contact with his family and barred from being on their property.

Callahan had undergone a mental evaluation after the December incident, but another was ordered after the fires.

Callahan is being represented by Lewiston attorney Jim Howaniec. Callahan has been held at the Androscoggin County Jail on $500,000 bail since his arrest on May 24.

Callahan and his wife are in the process of divorcing.

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