Relatives of a Mercer man who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Monday following an overnight standoff with police said they might have been able to prevent the shooting, but were not notified of the incident.

Gary Picard, 51, had been on a deferred disposition through the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office for a prior domestic incident in August 2017. Police said they were called to investigate a report of an assault involving him Sunday afternoon at a home on Rome Road.

Police, including a Maine State Police tactical team, surrounded the home for several hours, according to a news release Monday from Chief Deputy James Ross of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities heard a single gunshot around 2 a.m. and entered the home about 4 a.m., finding Picard’s body.

In a telephone interview Monday morning, Gary Mosher, of Mercer, said his wife, Michelle, is Gary Picard’s sister and they live less than 2 miles from the Picard home where Picard lived with his girlfriend. Mosher said that had his wife been called during the nearly 12-hour standoff she might have been able to talk her brother safely out of the house.

“She kind of keeps an eye on Gary,” Mosher said. “He’s a 50-year-old, he doesn’t work — he’d like to, but he’s an alcoholic — and met up with his girlfriend who’s absolutely poison and now he’s become violent.”

Mosher said Picard and his girlfriend got into a heated argument “like they usually do” and she called police. He said Picard is not allowed to have a gun because he has a previous criminal conviction. The gun, mixed with alcohol, was going to mean trouble, he said.

“Golly gee, it’s a human being, you know?” Mosher said. “The only way we found out about it was I went to work and my wife was on her way to work and she goes down his road and she saw all the police cars and she stopped and that’s when they informed her that he had killed himself.”

Mosher said he thought it was police protocol to call next of kin in such a situation.

“She was just not notified. We’re befuddled,” he said. “We can’t believe that they wouldn’t get a hold of her because she knows she could have talked him out of this. He listens to everything she says. It just killed her to drive by and know that they were there 12 hours and we live 2 miles away and were never contacted.”

Michelle Mosher, the postmaster at the Belgrade Lakes post office, said she, too, wondered why she was not notified of the incident as it was being played out not far from her home.

“I talked to the Sheriff’s Office, and they said it’s not their protocol to call in any family members because it puts them in danger,” Michelle Mosher said. “I’m not happy about that, of course.”

She said she and her husband are not on good terms with the girlfriend, so she is not surprised the girlfriend didn’t call them.

“I would have been the only person that could’ve talked to him,” she said.

Gary Mosher said later Monday that his wife spoke with state police and was told that “they would have loved to have somebody help them” but when they interviewed Picard’s girlfriend, she did not mention Michelle Mosher as being a family member who could have helped.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for Maine Department of Public Safety, which includes state police, said that while the incident was a Somerset County Sheriff’s Office case, he would surmise that the girlfriend was considered next of kin in that situation.

“When we send the tactical team, we also send a team of negotiators, which did attempt to make contact with him during the incident before a shot was heard by the troopers and the deputies who were on scene,” McCausland said by phone Monday. “Sometimes we regard the girlfriend as the closest relative — even though she’s not married — that would, depending on who she chooses to call, would call other relatives.”

Ross at the sheriff’s office said later Monday in an email that the incident was in the hands of the state police tactical team and the negotiators.

“None of the deputies that I have spoken with had any knowledge of who she is or that she was his sister,” Ross said. “Once the State Police Tactical Team arrive and take over the scene they are in charge of what is done.”

Somerset County deputies Cpl. Gene Cole and Isaac Wacome were dispatched to address a report of a domestic assault at Picard’s home just after 4 p.m. Sunday, according to the release.

The deputies were told that the person alleged to have committed the domestic assault — Picard — was intoxicated and had reportedly gone back inside to retrieve a firearm. The caller, a woman who was also the alleged victim of the assault, said she had left the house in a vehicle but was broken down on Rome Road a short distance from and within sight of Picard’s home.

Deputies interviewed the woman about the domestic assault and probable cause was established for Picard’s arrest, according to Ross.

After making sure the woman was safe and not in need of medical attention, the deputies went to Picard’s home where the domestic assault was reported to have taken place and tried to make contact with Picard.

Deputies knocked on the doors, used the public address system on the cruisers, called Picard’s cell phone several times and tried sending text messages, according to Ross. Picard did not respond to any of these contact attempts.

Conditions of Picard’s deferred disposition issued by the court ordered that he not have any contact with the woman involved in Sunday’s incident, not use or possess alcohol and not possess any firearms.

Due to the nature of the call, the possible possession of a firearm by Gary Picard and his refusal to communicate with law enforcement, the decision was made by patrol supervisors to request the assistance of the Maine State Police negotiators and tactical team.

Deputies also contacted the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office for assistance in obtaining a search warrant for Picard’s home and an arrest warrant.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. Sunday a judge authorized the search warrant and arrest warrant for Gary Picard and the scene was turned over to the tactical team and negotiators.

Contact was attempted throughout the night with Gary Picard and was mostly unsuccessful, Ross said in the news release. Ross said Picard did signal several times during the night by flashing an outside light that he did not want to cooperate.

He also let the family dog out.

Police heard a single gunshot around 2 a.m. Monday from the home. About two hours later they entered the home and found Picard’s body.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Maine State Police, Norridgewock Fire Department, Rome Fire Department and Redington-Fairview E.M.S.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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