A Portland man who pleaded guilty to murder Friday in a 2015 shooting in the Old Port has been identified as the prime suspect in the 2014 shooting of a man outside a Hampshire Street bar.
Cumberland County authorities said they are pursuing a plea deal with Gang Majok and have not yet presented the case involving the shooting outside Sangillo’s Tavern to a grand jury.
Majok was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison as part of a plea deal for killing 19-year-old Treyjon Arsenault on Memorial Day weekend 2015 in downtown Portland.
Majok, who is originally from Sudan and has been granted asylum in the United States, could be deported after he serves his sentence in the Old Port murder. Arsenault’s mother, Nancy Laxson of Scarborough, has criticized authorities for not previously seeking to deport Majok, who had been convicted of a string of misdemeanors before the shootings.
Majok had never before been formally identified by officials as the suspect in the Hampshire Street shooting, even though he was arrested near Sangillo’s Tavern right after the shooting and charged with assault, refusing to submit to arrest and violating bail conditions.
Majok also was named in a lawsuit filed by the victim in that shooting, Nasir Hirad, who alleges that Majok shot him in the back as he left the bar after a confrontation inside. That lawsuit, which also names the tavern’s owners as defendants for failing to protect Hirad and for not intervening in the alleged confrontation with Majok, is pending.
In court filings, Majok and the owners of the bar – which ultimately lost its liquor license and closed two years ago – denied the allegations.
The shooting outside Sangillo’s was initially handled by Meg Elam, a prosecutor in the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said. Elam continued with the case when she went to work for the Maine Attorney General’s Office in December 2015, hoping to use it as leverage in seeking a plea deal with Majok in the Old Port shooting, Anderson said.
But she turned the case back to the DA’s office a month ago when those negotiations sputtered, said Jennifer Ackerman, a county prosecutor. The plea deal on Arsenault’s murder was reached a few weeks later, Ackerman said.
Ackerman hopes to know within two weeks whether Majok and his attorney will agree to a plea deal in the 2014 shooting, allowing the district attorney to avoid a possibly time-consuming and expensive trial.
“We would like to resolve this case – it is three years old,” Anderson said.
Majok’s lawyer, Kristine Hanly, did not return a call for comment Monday.
Ackerman would not provide details of the proposed deal.
A co-defendant in the Old Port shooting, Johnny Ouch of Westbrook, pleaded guilty last summer to felony assault and was prepared to testify against Majok had the case gone to trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
Both shootings were unusual in Portland.
Police quickly said after the shooting outside Sangillo’s that it was not a random act, although neighbors said fights and arguments outside the bar were not unusual.
In his civil suit, Hirad, 24 at the time of the shooting, said Majok was angry and argumentative in the bar, calling Hirad names, criticizing his looks, questioning his nationality and demanding money. Sangillo’s employees failed to intervene and never asked Majok for an ID or tried to determine if he was drunk, the civil suit alleges. Hirad’s suit said Majok also got into arguments with other patrons and then followed Hirad out of the bar and shot him in the back as he walked away. The Old Port shooting happened at Da Block Studios at the corner of Fore and Market streets. Authorities said Majok and Ouch got into an argument with Mohamed Ali, a rival of Ouch’s, and that led to the shooting. Ouch shot Ali, who survived, and Majok shot Arsenault, who had been listening to music at the studio and didn’t know any of the three men involved in the argument.
Majok has multiple convictions for violating bail conditions, including one in 2010 that led to 75 days in jail.
He was convicted of a criminal trespass that occurred Sept. 29, 2013, and was given a suspended sentence after separate charges of domestic violence terrorizing and refusing to submit to arrest were dropped.
A felony drug trafficking charge from 2011 that had been dismissed appears to have been reinstated in 2014, although there is no verdict or sentencing information in his record. There also was no information about the outcome of a 2009 drug-trafficking charge. He was fined $300 in a 2006 assault.
Anderson said it is difficult to get someone deported. As an example, she said she has sought to have another man who was convicted of violent felonies deported, but while that man has had his status as an asylum seeker revoked, hearings on deportation have yet to be held.
Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: