WATERVILLE — A Waterville police officer shot and killed a Hartland man late Thursday night on Interstate 95 after the man reportedly charged at a police cruiser with a knife.

Dead is Eric J. Porter, 32, and the police officer who shot him is Paul Heath, 26, according to a news release from Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

Massey said later in a phone call Friday morning that Heath, who has been on the force for 3 1/2 years, is on paid administrative leave as a standard procedure.

The state Attorney General’s Office is investigating the shooting.

“This is standard under law for all officer-involved uses of deadly force,” Marc Malon, spokesman for the AG’s Office, said in a phone interview Friday. “We are investigating. We have a number of investigators who have been to the scene. I don’t have any details beyond that. We typically would not have a comment beyond that. These things typically do take a while as the focus of the process is to make sure to get all the details right and we come to an informed and accurate legal conclusion.”

The shooting occurred, according to Massey, after Waterville police at 11:30 p.m. Thursday responded to the parking lot of the Best Western Plus Waterville Grand Hotel at 375 Main St. for a report of a man armed with a knife, acting erratically and threatening people in the parking lot.

“Responding officers located the man in the parking lot, but before they could talk with him, he charged at a police cruiser brandishing the knife and ran across Main Street and up the northbound exit ramp of I-95 and onto the Interstate,” Massey said in the release.

“Officers located the man sitting on a guardrail still holding the knife,” Massey continued, in the release. “Attempts to persuade him to surrender were unsuccessful and an armed confrontation ensued, resulting in the man being fatally shot by a Waterville police officer.”

Massey was still at his office at 11:30 a.m. Friday and had been working since responding to the scene at midnight.

Contacted Friday morning, Katharine England, social media coordinator and spokesperson for Maine State Police, said in a phone call that state police were not involved in the case.

Waterville City Manager Steve Daly sent an email out to department heads early Friday morning notifying them of the shooting and saying all press and media inquiries should go to Waterville police.

Schools Superintendent Eric Haley then sent an email to his administrative team, including school principals, and the Waterville Board of Education, notifying them of the shooting.

Darlene Ratte, assistant general manager at the Best Western, at 375 Main St., said in a brief interview Friday that she was in the hotel parking lot when the incident began.

“The person ran through the parking lot toward Harbor Freight and across the street to the Big Apple and up toward the interstate,” she said.

Information about Porter was scarce on Friday. Hartland selectmen and an official at the Hartland Town Office said they do not know anyone by that name.

Also contacted Friday, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said his department has had “limited interactions” with someone by the name Eric J. Porter of Hartland.

“Because of the (AG) investigation, I really can’t expound on the record what those might be,” Lancaster said.

 

Comments are not available on this story.