The widow of a Windham man who was shot and killed by a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy has filed a notice that she intends to sue police for $2 million.

Vicki McKenney watched from the back seat of a cruiser as her suicidal husband, armed with a handgun, walked toward a sheriff’s deputy and was ultimately shot in the head.

Stephen McKenney, 66, had been suffering from excruciating back pain and was unable to get relief. On April 12, his wife called police saying she was afraid he might hurt himself.

Police tried to persuade McKenney to drop the .357 Magnum pistol he was carrying but he refused and was fatally shot.

His widow has filed a notice of claim against the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Nicholas Mangino and the Windham Police Department, according to a notice of claim filed by her attorney, Daniel G. Lilley. A notice of claim is typically a precursor to a lawsuit.

An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office found that Mangino was justified in using deadly force, that he reasonably feared for the safety of himself or someone else and needed to use deadly force to end the threat.

The incident unfolded early in the morning in Windham and police from that town responded but so too did Mangino, who was in the area. Mangino was positioned behind his cruiser with a civilian who was riding with him to observe police work. The civilian was ducking down in the front seat.

Several police commands for McKenney to drop the gun were recorded by cruiser cameras but McKenney refused and waved the gun around like he was looking for something to point it at, say investigators with the Attorney General’s Office. Investigators say Mangino also yelled at McKenney as he approached him, telling him to drop his gun, though the investigation says he was too far away from the other officers’ cruiser cameras for his warnings to be recorded.

McKenney continued to approach Mangino’s cruiser, his handgun at his side, and Mangino shot him.

The notice of claim says that after their initial encounter with McKenney, police did not try to communicate with him “nor were any protocols or policies followed with regard to the proper response of law enforcement officers in assisting individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The claim says that at the time he was shot, McKenney posed no threat to officers or the public.

The claim describes the police actions as “reckless” and “grossly negligent” and says the officers involved were not properly trained and did not follow procedures.

The claim says that Vicki McKenney’s loss, including her pain and suffering and the emotional trauma of watching her husband be killed, has caused damages “estimated to be a minimum of $2 million.”

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @Mainehenchman


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