AUBURN — A Lewiston man sentenced Monday to three years in prison for a downtown shootout in July was released from jail for time served, settling the case to avoid a trial and thus protect the identity of an informant, according to prosecutors.

Matthew Gallagher, 27, of 86 Horton St. pleaded guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court to reckless conduct with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, both Class C felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison. A third charge, receiving stolen property, was dismissed by prosecutors.

He had been scheduled to stand trial this month.

Assistant District Attorney Katherine Bozeman told Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford that police responded July 10 to a report of a shootout in the area of 87 Howe St. at around 9:15 p.m. Five black males involved in the shooting got out of an SUV seeking Gallagher that night, she said. Gallagher saw the men before they could see him. He started the shootout, prompting the five men to retreat and flee the scene.

A confidential informant who witnessed the shooting would have testified at trial to having seen with “very clear vision” Gallagher fire shots because he had been standing under lights and the informant had known who Gallagher was. The informant later picked him out of a lineup.

One of the reasons prosecutors were willing to settle the case for time-served — 164 days — was to protect the identity of the informant, Bozeman said.

Local police executed a search warrant of Gallagher’s apartment after he had escaped from the crime scene perimeter. Police found a police scanner that had been stolen from the Lewiston Fire Department. They also found 9 mm shell casings. Sources had told police he had hidden a gun in a stuffed animal.

Police were told that Gallagher had moved guns to a different location. The owner of that location led police to a closet where Gallagher’s backpack containing firearms was found. Those guns and a magazine to a different gun were recovered from that closet, Bozeman said.

A .40-caliber Glock and a .40-caliber Taurus semiautomatic pistol were recovered and taken to the Maine Crime Laboratory in Augusta for testing.

Shell casings found at the time of the shooting, including a spent round that was under a vehicle at the scene of the shootout, also were tested at the lab.

A crime lab analyst determined that the Glock was used by Gallagher during the shootout and the spent shell casing and round came from the Glock, Bozeman said.

A 2014 felony conviction prohibited Gallagher from having a firearm, she said.

Although Gallagher disputed the facts that Bozeman included in her narrative, he agreed that she would have been able to present at trial witnesses who would have testified to those facts and that a jury may have found him guilty based on that evidence. He said police recovered only one gun.

Bozeman said the informant was “terrified” by Gallagher.

Gallagher told the judge he knew who the informant was, but Gallagher’s attorney, George Hess, downplayed that statement.

While on probation for two years, Gallagher is barred from having alcohol and illegal drugs, and may be searched and tested at random for both. He also is prohibited from having any dangerous weapons and may be searched for them at any time.

He must complete counseling and treatment for substance abuse.

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