The mother of an Oakland woman shot and killed by police in 2017 as they exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend, a suspect in an armed home invasion, has filed a wrongful death suit claiming her daughter was a bystander whom police should have tried to avoid injuring.

Ambroshia “Amber” Fagre, 18, of Oakland, died Feb. 11, 2017, two days after she was shot by Maine State Police Trooper Jeffrey Parks as he fired at her boyfriend’s Dodge Durango pickup truck, in which Fagre was a passenger.

Fagre’s boyfriend, Kadhar Bailey, 25, of Gardiner, who was also shot and killed, had exchanged gunfire with police as he fled the scene of the reported home invasion. His truck intentionally struck a police cruiser that was blocking the road as Parks fired at it.

In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Hunter Tzovarras, an attorney for Jessica Fagre, mother of Amber Fagre, said Parks and two other police officers, Vassalboro police Chief Mark Brown and Maine State Police Lt. Scott Ireland, used “excessive and unreasonable force” against her daughter and should have taken steps to protect her.

The suit accuses the officers of negligence and says they caused Fagre to suffer a period of conscious physical pain and emotional trauma before her death. It also seeks unspecified compensation and punitive damages.

The lawsuit stems from a Feb. 10, 2017, report of a home invasion and burglary at the home of Maine golf legend Dickie Browne on Arnold Road in Vassalboro.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Fagre in the passenger seat of the Dodge Durango pickup truck parked outside the house, the suit said.

They later learned Bailey had knocked on the door of Browne’s home and offered to shovel the roof for pay, but Browne declined.

Moments later, he heard noise coming from his garage and encountered Bailey, who held him at gunpoint and ordered him back into the house. Bailey tied Browne up in the basement and spent the next several hours ransacking his house.

He later stole Browne’s pickup truck, ditched it on a nearby snowmobile trail and was making his way back to the house carrying a handgun when he encountered the officers and was ordered to stop, the lawsuit said.

When Bailey continued to make his way toward Brown, the Vassalboro chief and the pickup truck where his girlfriend was seated in the passenger seat, Brown shot at him and took cover behind a snowbank.

Bailey fired his gun back at the chief, then got into the truck and began to drive away. At the same time, Parks, the state police trooper, pulled his cruiser into the road to block it, got out and fired several rounds into the Durango from behind a snowbank.

The truck struck the cruiser and one of the shots fired by Parks also hit and seriously injured Fagre. After the truck came to a stop, Ireland, the lieutenant with Maine State Police, saw Bailey reaching for something in the truck, fired his gun and killed him.

Fagre was taken to the hospital, where she died of her gunshot wound the next day.

In response to the lawsuit, Edward Benjamin, an attorney for Brown, has filed a request to have the case against him dismissed, arguing that Brown had no control over the actions of Parks, the trooper whose bullet fatally struck Fagre.

The response says Brown was justified to shoot at Bailey both before and after Bailey shot at him, that he didn’t intend to harm Fagre and while he was engaged in gunfire with the suspect, there was nothing else he could do to preserve her safety.

It also says he is protected by Maine law that grants immunity to government employees who are acting in an official capacity or carrying out the duties of their jobs.

Brown, who is still employed as the Vassalboro chief, did not immediately respond to a phone call or email seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

Marc Malon, a legislative liaison for the Office of the Maine Attorney General, said in an email Thursday the attorney general’s office, which is representing Ireland and Parks in the case, has no comment.

A 2018 report by the office found both officers were not at fault and acted in self-defense when using deadly force to counter the threat posed by Bailey.

It said Fagre was out of Parks’ line of sight when she was struck fatally by a single bullet, and her unintended death did not affect the legal analysis of whether Parks acted reasonably by firing at Bailey.

 

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected] 

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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