AUGUSTA — A Gardiner man has been charged in connection with a shooting last month that wounded his girlfriend as her children huddled in another room to keep from being shot.
Sean Kingston, 38, was indicted last week on charges of aggravated assault and reckless conduct in connection with the Dec. 7 shooting on Costello Road in Gardiner. Kingston, who was arrested two days after the shooting on a charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, was indicted on the same charge by a Kennebec County Superior Court grand jury last week. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.
Kingston was being held Tuesday at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail.
The victim, 34-year-old Shawna Snyder, was shot in the torso and taken by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center, Gardiner Police Chief James Toman said shortly after the shooting. Snyder was expected to make a full recovery.
Kingston, whose record includes two felony convictions, allegedly shot Snyder with a handgun. Kingston turned himself in to police on Dec. 8.
Kingston reportedly split his time between Wiscasset and Snyder’s home at 30 Costello Road. Police were called to the home shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, for a report of a shooting. An affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court by Gardiner Police Detective Michael Durham says Gardiner Police Sgt. Stacey Blair was led to a back bedroom where he found Snyder lying on the bed with a gunshot wound to her lower abdomen. She said she was in pain and feared she would die.
“Sgt. Blair asked Shawna what happened, to which she said she and her boyfriend found a gun out in the field and â€˜It went off,’” Durham wrote. Snyder, who identified Kingston as her boyfriend, later told Blair that she and Kingston found the gun and then took it inside the house. She said it went off as they were looking at it.
When interviewed by police, Kingston said he kept the .40 caliber handgun in the house for protection. He claimed he and Snyder were both sitting on her bed, where the gun was resting.
“He said that Shawna was touching the firearm with her foot, so he reached down, picked up the firearm and was moving it to the headboard of the bed when it went off an unknown reason,” Durham wrote. “He denied pulling the trigger and claimed this incident was entirely accidental.”
Snyder’s 15-year-old son told police that he heard a loud pop from the bedroom. The boy knocked on his mother’s door, and Kingston opened the door and told the boy it was a firecracker before slamming the door shut. The boy was home with his five siblings, identified as Snyder’s children, all between the ages of 12 and 5.
After Kingston slammed the bedroom door, the boy said he “went back into another bedroom where his five young siblings were,” Durham wrote. “He said he stayed there with his siblings because he did not want to get shot. He said after about 10 minutes he came out of his room and a police officer was there.”
Kingston left as Blair was checking on Snyder, Durham said.
Snyder’s son told police that Kingston and Snyder had not been fighting or arguing before the shooting. Police found no evidence of a domestic dispute or fight, Durham said. Snyder’s son said his mother and Kingston, “spent most of the afternoon in her bedroom and they were laughing up until the shooting.”
The boy said he heard his mother say four times, “It went through me!” after hearing the gunshot.
Durham wrote that the expended bullet, which entered Snyder’s lower abdomen and exited her upper buttock, was found between the mattress and mattress cover near an unspent .40 caliber Smith & Wesson bullet that was found in the sheets.
Snyder’s son told police that he knew of no handgun in the house and that Kingston must have brought it in. Durham said the boy saw Kingston with a black and orange backpack earlier in the day.
“Sean told (the boy) that this backpack was for things that he did not want people to know about,” Durham wrote. The boy reportedly saw the backpack in his mother’s room before the shooting. The backpack was gone when police searched the home.
Snyder’s criminal history includes a pair of felony convictions in Wiscasset Superior Court. Durham’s affidavit indicates Kingston was convicted of burglary in 1997 and the indictment lists a 2010 conviction of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
Kingston contacted police two days after the shooting and agreed to turn himself in. He said the gun was no longer at Snyder’s home.
“Sean told me that the firearm would never be found,” Durham wrote. “He would not tell me where he put it.”
Craig Crosby — firstname.lastname@example.org