WATERVILLE — Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey is establishing a committee to review the fatal shooting last week of a Hartland man by a city police officer on Interstate 95 off upper Main Street.

Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey announced the formation of a committee to look into the fatal shooting involving a police officer that occurred in Waterville Feb. 11. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

As is standard practice for all officer-involved uses of deadly force, the state Attorney General’s Office is investigating the Feb. 11 shooting of Eric J. Porter, 32, by police Officer Paul Heath, 26. Porter reportedly had charged at a police cruiser with a knife before he was shot.

Massey is forming the police department review committee, which all agencies are required to in that circumstance.

The panel will include a state police official, a resident, a police chief from another municipality and a licensed mental health worker, according to Massey.

“The deputy chief (Bill Bonney) will facilitate that meeting and they will review everything here to make sure that the officer acted within policy,” Massey said. “That’s their function.”

He said he has reached out to people to serve on the panel and is awaiting confirmation from some. He said he hopes to get the panel working within a week or two. Members may meet only once, but they could meet more than that, if needed, he said.

City Manager Steve Daly notified the City Council on Tuesday night about the review committee. Daly said Wednesday that he could not comment on the matter beyond what he had reported to the council.

“It was truly an unfortunate incident and I say that with respect to both parties involved,” he said.

Marc Malon, spokesman for the AG’s Office, said last week that his office typically does not comment on such investigations except to confirm that they are happening.

“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,” Malon said.

Heath, who has been on the police force for 3 1/2 years, is on paid administrative leave as is standard procedure, according to Massey.

Massey reported last week that at 11:30 p.m. Feb. 11, police 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.

Officers found 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, according to Massey.

“Officers located the man sitting on a guardrail still holding the knife,” Massey continued, in a news release at the time. “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.”

Meanwhile, Hartland selectmen and an official at the Hartland Town Office said they do not know anyone by the name of Eric J. Porter. Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said his department had had “limited interactions” with someone by that name who was from Hartland, but because of the investigation, he could not elaborate.

 

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