AUBURN — A Berwick man who police said was shot in the chest while attempting to rob a couple in the Planet Fitness parking lot last winter has been charged with robbery, but wasn’t arrested due to serious nature of his injuries.

A Maine State Police officer investigates a shooting in the Auburn Plaza parking lot on Feb. 24. Evidence tags mark shell casings next to a vehicle that was involved in the incident. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

An Androscoggin County grand jury handed up an indictment against 19-year-old Damian I. Walter last week charging him with two counts of Class B robbery, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Walter was said to have been “severely injured” in the shooting and was hospitalized with a chest wound, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis said Tuesday.

Maine State Police, who are tasked with investigating all shootings in Androscoggin County that could result in death, assisted local police in the case.

Police identified two alleged accomplices.

William Beasley, 18, of 25 Harvard St. was charged last month with two counts of felony robbery in connection with the case.

Pierre Rouse, 16, was charged in a juvenile petition with liability accomplice robbery, a felony for his alleged role as getaway driver, according to court records.

Rather than seeking Walter’s arrest after his indictment on the robbery charges, Matulis said his office had asked the court to issue Walter a summons “because of concerns about serious medical conditions as a result of him being shot in the chest” during the commission of a robbery.

Police said they responded to the scene of a shooting after midnight Feb. 24 to find Beasley attempting to provide first aid to a man, later identified as Walter, lying on the ground and bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest at 730 Center St. in the parking lot of Planet Fitness.

A man and woman at the scene who reported the incident told police they were talking together in the woman’s vehicle after work when Beasley and Walter approached their vehicle, showed them a revolver and “demanded their money and cellphones.”

The male robbery victim told Beasley and Walter that he needed to get it from his vehicle, which was parked nearby.

Police said the male robbery victim pulled a 9 mm handgun from his vehicle and fired multiple shots at Beasley and Walter, who began running away.

The male robbery victim told police that he was trying to scare the two robbers by firing shots in the air or behind them.

One of the shots struck Walter in the chest. He was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was reported to be in critical condition.

The man who fired the shots will not be charged, Matulis said Tuesday, because his actions were justified under Maine’s self-defense laws.

The weapon brandished by Beasley and Walter that night turned out to be a BB gun designed to look like a revolver.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: