AUGUSTA — City police are starting to get a clearer picture of the people directly involved with a shooting Sunday in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Augusta.

And while drugs found with two of the people involved resulted in charges for aggravated trafficking and furnishing drugs, police say the fight that broke out was over money.

“Based on our investigation so far,” Augusta police Lt. Chris Massey said, “we know it was over money and that someone had someone else’s EBT card.”

EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfer, cards work like debit cards and are used to distribute food supplement benefits to those who qualify.

The question of the identity of the two of the people arrested in connection with the shooting, Kweasia “Reggie” McBride and Frankie Dejesus, hinges on the results of a fingerprint match.

“We are getting pretty close to finding out who they are. There’s some play on names, when the first name (given) is the middle name,” Massey said.


Results are expected within a couple of days.

The four charged in connection with the shooting are:

• McBride, 45, of Harlem, New York, charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, class C, and aggravated trafficking in drugs (heroin), class B. His bail was set at $50,000.

• Dejesus, 27, of Rochester, New York, charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, class C, and aggravated assault, class B. His bail was set at $25,000.

• Diana Davis, 28, of Rochester, New York, charged with aggravated assault, class B. Her bail was set at $5,000.

• Samantha Tupper, 24, of Augusta, charged with probation violation and furnishing drugs (heroin), class B. She is being held without bail and is expected to make her first court appearance later this week.


Sunday’s altercation was broken up by two legally armed bystanders, Daniel Chavanne, a truck driver for Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine, and a second man whose identity has not been disclosed.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issued its 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Study. The report states that heroin availability is increasing throughout the nation and availability levels are highest in the Northeast and the Midwest. In the last five years, heroin seizures across the United States have increased 80 percent, and traffickers are transporting the drug in larger amounts. The heroin tends to be higher in purity and lower in price.

“All the communities and towns are affected by heroin in Maine,” Massey said. While the drugs end up here, they are funneled into Maine from a variety of places.

“When I worked for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the heroin came from Massachusetts,” Massey said.

Its popularity waned and then started increasing again and the sources shifted.

“Some came from Pennsylvania, then a certain area of the Bronx in New York, and now from Rochester,” he said. “How that happens, I would say is generally by word of mouth. Someone has a family member who says (drugs) are really wanted here. So someone who lives in the Bronx has a cousin who lives in Rochester who will sell drugs here.”


Usually, he said, there are connections among dealers. They might be related or come from the same neighborhood.

“It takes a long time to sort that out,” he said.

The economics of selling heroin in Maine makes the trade profitable, he said. In New York, dealers might get $2 to $3 for a bag of heroin, but here they might get $25 to $30.

The battle played itself out in a very public place, the parking lot in front of Wal-Mart.

An affidavit by Augusta police Detective Brian Wastella filed with the court said “money being owed between parties” was at the heart of the dispute. After two cars — a Ford Taurus and a silver Volkswagen — pulled up next to each other, everyone in the vehicles got out. An argument ensued.

McBride said Tupper and he got back into the Taurus when “he observed Dejesus point a handgun out the driver’s side of his vehicle at him. McBride stated in fear of being shot, McBride drew his handgun and began firing at Dejesus,” Wastella wrote. Dejesus told police McBride pulled the gun first and began shooting, so Dejesus began firing back.


Wastella said McBride got out of the car once the shooting stopped and began fighting with Dejesus and Davis, with the two beating on McBride. Tupper told police Dejesus hit McBride with the butt of a gun while Davis held him.

Dejesus told police he and Davis fought with McBride in self-defense, Wastella wrote.

Bystander Daniel Chavanne walked over to the nearby scene of the shooting and dispute, showed his Glock 42 pistol, announced he was armed and told those fighting to get down on the ground.

He kicked one of the guns away from a man on the ground and held it down with his foot.

Two other shoppers who were there Sunday, Mike and Karen Tehan, of Winthrop, had a close-up view of the aftermath of the shooting. They were looking for a new coffee maker Sunday when they said store associates ushered them toward the back of the store and held them there until the all-clear notice was issued. When they went outside, they found their car inside the police tape that marked out the crime scene. Police officers had asked them to wait while the investigation was underway.

“So much for our evening at home watching a romantic movie,” Karen Tehan said following the incident.


Wal-Mart, whose stores have been the site of shootings, has an emergency plan in place.

“This day and age, having a response plan for emergencies is an important part of any business’s security planning,” company spokeswoman Leslee Wright said. “This is the case for Wal-Mart wherever we operate.”

The company has resources in place to deal with a wide range of scenarios, from natural disasters to criminal activity.

Immediately after the shooting, she said, associates secured the store and moved customers to a safe location. They also moved customers outside the building to a safe location until the Augusta police arrived and secured the area.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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