PARIS — Police said a 50-year-old Mexico man is charged with trying to strangle a speaker at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting Monday night.

Wilfred T. Merrill of Mexico Avenue is charged with felony aggravated assault, refusal to submit to arrest, attempting to elude an officer, criminal speeding and operating after suspension, according to a complaint Mexico police filed with a court clerk. 

Merrill was arrested on Route 2 in Rumford on Monday night, police Chief Roy Hodsdon said, and made an initial appearance in Rumford District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Hodsdon said Merrill was attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Mexico around 7:30 p.m. Monday when he assaulted an elderly man. After the two were separated, Merrill fled on foot.

According to Hodsdon’s affidavit filed in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris, the victim told police he was speaking to the group when Merrill approached and tried to strangle him. There was no direct communication between the two before the assault, the affidavit said.

Following a lead, police questioned Merrill’s girlfriend about an hour later outside Mountain Valley Variety store in Rumford. Unknown to police, Merrill sat nearby in her car in the parking lot, the affidavit said.

The woman told police Merrill sped off in her car after spotting officers. A chase ensued with Merrill driving 30 mph over the speed limit. He pulled over near Rowe Ford in Rumford around 9 p.m., the affidavit said.

According to Hodsdon, Merill appeared intoxicated, was disorderly and refused to submit to arrest. He was shot with a Taser after walking toward police shouting,  “Shoot me,” and ignoring warnings to get down, according to the affidavit. 

Merrill was taken to a hospital as a precaution and later taken to the Oxford County Jail in Paris. He is scheduled to appear in Oxford County Superior Court on Jan. 6, 2015.

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