The knife-wielding man shot and killed by Maine State Police troopers in Chester on Saturday afternoon was identified Sunday as Shad Gerken, 34, of Woodville.

Stephen McCausland, a spokesman with the Maine Department of Public Safety, said three members of the state police tactical team were placed on administrative leave with pay – standard procedure following any officer-involved shooting.

McCausland identified the troopers as Sgt. Nicholas Grass, the tactical team’s commander, who has 19 years of experience with the state police; Sgt. Donald Shead, a 26-year veteran; and Detective Gregory Mitchell, a 13-year veteran.

McCausland said the fatal shooting took place in a wooded area about 100 feet off Route 116 after a standoff that lasted several hours – from midmorning until shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday.

McCausland said the “circumstances of the shooting are being investigated” by the Maine Attorney General’s Office. The office investigates officer-involved shootings to determine if the use of deadly force was justified.

Few details about the shooting or the events leading up to it were available Sunday.


Residents of the area notified police Saturday morning that Gerken was walking along Route 116 while holding a knife.

A game warden, Sgt. Ronald Dunham, received a superficial cut to his left hand after he tried to restrain Gerken early in the standoff, according to McCausland.

But how many bullets were fired, how many times Gerken was shot, how Gerken was acting toward police, and why the shooting needed to occur are all details that will come later once the Attorney General’s Office has completed its investigation, McCausland said.

Brian MacMaster, director of investigations for the Attorney General’s Office, said Sunday he was told by the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office that Gerken threatened several members of the public with the knife before he was shot by state troopers. MacMaster said he did not have enough information to comment on the size or type of knife in Gerken’s possession.

MacMaster said officers with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office were familiar with Gerken, but a criminal history records check did not turn up anything.

According to McMaster, there have been seven officer-involved shootings this year in Maine. Of those shootings, four have been fatal.

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