An Augusta police officer who last month shot a former Riverview Psychiatric Center patient who reportedly threatened her with a knife was allegedly assaulted Wednesday while trying to arrest a woman accused of shoplifting a 12-pack of beer.

Officer Laura Drouin suffered minor injuries while trying to arrest 29-year-old Amber Bloss of Augusta, said Augusta Police Lt. Christopher Read. Drouin’s injuries were “minor scrapes” that did not require hospitalization.

Bloss was charged with theft, criminal trespass, refusing to submit to arrest or detention and assault on an officer. She was being held Friday at the Kennebec County jail in lieu of $1,060 cash bail.

Drouin last month shot 36-year-old Jason Begin while responding to Riverview’s Assertive Community Treatment team, when begin reportedly threatened her and others with a knife.

Drouin was responding to a request by mental health professionals to help take Begin from the program, in the former MaineGeneral hospital on East Chestnut Street, to Riverview, Deputy Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta Police Department said at the time.

Begin was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta with what were described as non life-threatening injuries. An update of his condition has been unavailable.

Drouin was put on paid leave, which is standard department procedure when an officer is involved in a shooting. She returned to work last week after the department completed an internal investigation that found she followed the correct procedure during the incident that led to the Jan. 12 shooting, Mills said. Drouin has been restored to full duty.

The investigation by Maine Office of the Attorney General, which investigates all police-involved shootings, is ongoing.

Wednesday’s alleged assault on Drouin began with a report around 6:15 p.m. of a woman stealing a 12-pack of Bud Light beer from the Walgreens at 403 Water St., on Memorial Circle.

The woman, who left on foot, was “wearing jeans and had pink curly hair,” Drouin wrote in an affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court. Drouin found a woman matching the description walking on Water Street near Hartford Fire Station, a short distance from the Walgreens. The woman was carrying a pack of Bud Light.

Drouin wrote that she stopped her cruiser in front of the woman, later identified as Bloss, who started walking faster toward Gage Street. Drouin ordered Bloss to stop, but she backed away from Drouin, who said she grabbed her arm to place her under arrest.

“Bloss then dropped the beer and struck the left side of my face,” Drouin wrote. “The strike knocked my hat off and knocked my ear piece out of my ear.”

Drouin wrote that she forced Bloss to the pavement and tried to place her under arrest. Bloss ignored Drouin’s orders to stop resisting and to get on her stomach.

“Bloss continued to resist and struck my face a second time across my upper lip and cheek,” Drouin wrote. She got one handcuff on Bloss before Augusta Police Officer Matthew Estes arrived to help complete the arrest.

Augusta Police on Feb. 1 served Bloss a trespass notice prohibiting her from entering the Walgreens. She was carrying that notice at the time of her arrest, Drouin wrote.

A store manager subsequently confirmed that Bloss was the one who stole the beer, police said.

Mills said Drouin returned to duty after their internal investigation into the shooting was complete.

“The return of the officer depends on the overall situation,” Mills said. “The circumstances of the incident, along with the officer’s readiness to come back, is taken into consideration.”

Mills said it could be several months before the attorney general’s office completes its investigation.

“It’s not feasible for us to wait for their conclusion,” Mills said. “However, our internal investigation has to be completed for an officer to return, and it is in this case.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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