The fatal police shooting last year of a 22-year-old man armed with an air rifle in the parking lot of a Portland shopping center was justified, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

The office, which investigates all police-involved shootings, reviewed the shooting of Chance David Baker on Feb. 18, 2017, at Union Station Plaza on St. John Street. It concluded, in a report released Tuesday morning, that Portland police Sgt. Nicholas Goodman had reason to believe that Baker was about to use deadly force against him, fellow police officers or others.

Goodman killed Baker with a single gunshot to the head after it appeared Baker was preparing to fire his weapon, the report said.

Police were called to the shopping center in response to reports of a man holding a gun in the parking lot and acting erratically. Baker had just purchased the air rifle, which fired pellets, at a pawn shop in the plaza.

According to the report, the air rifle that Baker had was equipped with a scope and appeared to be an actual rifle. At least one caller told police he believed it was a BB gun, according to previously released documents, but police officers indicated they could not be sure from where they stood watching him. Baker seemed to be ready to pull the trigger, according to witnesses, and someone on the scene yelled that he may have been trying to clear a jammed round, suggesting that the gun was a rifle, according to the report by the Attorney General’s Office.

Baker was drinking from a 40-ounce bottle of Colt 45 Malt Liquor as he stood in the parking lot and his blood-alcohol level was 0.308 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle, according to the report. Investigative records have shown his blood-alcohol level was 0.241 percent immediately after the shooting, but was higher at the time of the autopsy.

Baker grew up in Iowa and moved to Maine in 2012. Friends and family members said they believed he was dealing with an undiagnosed mental health illness.

Baker’s grandmother, Terry Baker, said the family does not agree that the shooting was justified.

“The fight for justice has just begun,” she said in a phone interview from Iowa.

She said the family hired a lawyer after Chance Baker was shot but has not decided whether to sue police.

“It’s very sad that every police shooting comes back as justified,” Terry Baker said.

Since 1990, the Maine Attorney General’s Office has investigated 154 police-involved shootings and it has never found any of them to be unjustified.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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