WATERVILLE — A man with the same name and birthday as the suspect in the shooting of a Waterville police officer Sunday had been charged with attempted murder in 2010 and assaulting a police officer in 2017 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, according to a newspaper editor in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The gunfight in Canaan left Waterville police Officer Timothy Hinton injured and the suspect, Richard Murray-Burns, hospitalized for multiple gunshot wounds. Murray-Burns, 29, lives in Hartland.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey called Sunday’s car chase and shooting “one of the larger shootouts between police and a suspect in Maine” that he has seen in his time in law enforcement. “It was very significant.”

In April 2010, a Richard J. Murray-Burns, then 20, was charged with assault and battery, assault to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of possession to distribute a class D substance, defacing a firearm’s serial number and carrying a firearm without a license, according to the Patriot Ledger newspaper based in Quincy.

Murray-Burns allegedly shot his mother’s boyfriend in the head with a .22-caliber pistol and beat him with a baseball bat during an argument.

The victim, who was not identified in the article, was treated at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and released the same day.

In April 2017, the same Richard J. Murray-Burns, then 27, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace, according to Neal Simpson, editor of the Patriot Ledger, who cited court records.

Waterville Police Officer Timothy Hinton Courtesy of Waterville Police

Murray-Burns pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace in February 2018 and the assault and battery charge was dropped, the Ledger said.

With the exception of the disturbing the peace offense, all charges were dropped, some at the request of the prosecutor, according to the newspaper. Beth Stone, a spokeswoman for the Plymouth County District attorney, told the Patriot Ledger in an email on Monday that she could not answer why the charges were dismissed because files from the case were in storage.

Simpson confirmed that the man charged in these cases has the same name and birthday as the suspect in Sunday’s shooting.

“Officer Hinton was really a hero out of this,” Massey said. “Even though he was shot and wounded, he wanted to make sure he was able to stay with the car as long as he could until other officers could take over. That was very heroic of him.”

Hinton was shot in both arms with an assault rifle while pursuing Murray-Burns from Waterville to Canaan Sunday afternoon. The Waterville officer had pulled over Murray-Burns on upper Main Street in Waterville to question him about a shoplifting complaint reported by Walmart employees, which started the chase. Main Street is also state Route 104.

Hinton followed Murray-Burns until law enforcement officials from the Maine State Police, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, State Fire Marshal’s Office and Winslow police joined the pursuit along routes 201, 23 and 2. Seven officers fired at Murray-Burns and may have wounded him in a shootout that occurred near the Circle K gas station in Canaan that left the silver Honda he had been driving with a blown-out windshield and riddled with bullets.

Murray-Burns is currently being treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. A representative of EMMC declined to provide a condition report on Murray-Burns and said they have “no information” about him Monday morning. Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, confirmed that Murray-Burns is still alive and that his condition is being monitored.

A Waterville police officer puts out traffic cones Sunday afternoon after an officer and another man were shot following a chase that ended in Canaan. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Hinton, who has been employed with the Waterville Police Department since 2007, according to Massey, was released from MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Unit in Waterville at around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Officer Hinton was able to be released last night to his family, so that he can enjoy holidays with family,” Massey said. “That’s a win for us. We’re grateful that he’s going to be OK.”

There were seven officer-involved shootings in Maine this year and five in 2018. McCausland said he had no reaction to that pattern. Massey separately acknowledged the context and praised Hinton’s behavior in Sunday’s incident.

“We’ve seen an increase in violence against police in the last decade,” Massey said. “Our officers have remained vigilant that that’s a possibility — a routine call can turn pretty darn deadly. But to (Hinton’s) credit, he kept his wits about him and was able to function under tremendously adverse conditions including being wounded. I want to recognize his actions and the bravery he exhibited.”

One Waterville police cruiser — the one Hinton had been driving — was damaged Sunday. The windshield and body, not wheels or tires, were affected, according to Massey.

A Maine State Police trooper spray-paints a circle around a shell casing Sunday on Route 23 after the shootout in Canaan. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“As far as we could tell, the cruiser was struck approximately 15 times,” Massey said. “The extent of the damage I really don’t know until we get a chance to get the car back and looked at. Bullets penetrated into the interior — just what it hit and extent I don’t know.”

Massey said he was unsure how long and for how many miles Hinton pursued Murray-Burns before other officials took over.

Details about the shoplifting incident that preceded Sunday’s chase remain unclear. The assistant manager of Waterville’s Walmart said he was not able to comment on the complaint employees made to the police. Massey said that a Walmart employee reported that a shoplifter had left the store and provided a description of the vehicle, which enabled Hinton to stop it on Main Street.

The seven other officers who were involved in the shootout are State Troopers Eric Sucy, Rick Moody, Daniel Murray and Garret Booth; investigator Ken MacMaster of State Fire Marshal’s Office; Somerset County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Arminger; and Winslow police Officer Cameron Huggins, according to McCausland. They, along with Hinton, have been placed on administrative leave with pay while the Attorney General’s office investigates the incident. That is standard procedure for all officer-involved uses of deadly force, according to McCausland and Marc Malon, spokesman for the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

McCausland said that having four troopers out on paid leave will not lessen state police’s range of coverage or affect the investigation into the shooting, which is handled by the Attorney General’s Office.

“The (four) slots will be back-filled by other members, so the coverage they have will continue,” McCausland said. “There will be no change in the coverage. It will just be filled probably using overtime or, most likely, by changing schedules.”

The state agency will not hire temporary officers to fill Sucy’s, Moody’s, Murray’s and Booth’s spaces.

MacMaster, an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, was at the scene Sunday because he “was going to another call and was diverted when he heard the police radio traffic,” McCausland said.

This story has been updated with Richard Murray-Burns’ correct town of residence: Hartland. It was a source error.

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