State and local police investigate a shooting June 6, 2020, at Home Place Inn at 150 College Ave. in Waterville. Joseph Tracy, 33, was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, but later died. Jashawn Lipscombe has been indicted on murder charges in the shooting. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

A grand jury in Kennebec County has indicted a man on murder charges in the shooting of Joseph Tracy last year at an apartment complex on College Avenue in Waterville.

The indictment was handed up Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court for Jashawn Lipscombe, 21, on charges that he used a Lorcin .25-caliber semi-automatic firearm to intentionally or knowingly cause the death of Tracy, 33. An indictment is not a determination of guilt but rather indicates that there’s enough evidence for a case to proceed to trial.

Joseph Tracy Provided by Jessica Poulin

Tracy, of West Gardiner, was found shot June 6, 2020, between the lower neck and shoulder blades at Home Place Inn at 150 College Ave. and was taken to nearby Thayer Center for Health. He was then taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where a team of neurologists said the bullet was lodged inside his spine, according to his father, Dan Tracy, also of West Gardiner.

Joseph Tracy was taken to Androscoggin Hospice House in Auburn, where he died two days later, June 8, 2020, in the presence of his family, including his mother, Cindy Tracy.

Few details about the case were released at the time and authorities still are keeping them sealed. Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the state Department of Public Safety, said in an email Thursday morning that state police could not comment on any of the details surrounding the case, but she could confirm that Lipscombe was arrested in March in New York on an arrest warrant for murder.

Marc Malon, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said late Wednesday in an email that Lipscombe is being held in New York on unrelated charges. The next step in the case is an arraignment, which has not yet been scheduled, and then a trial would be held in Maine, according to Malon. Assistant Attorney General Bud Ellis handled the indictment Friday, he said.

Dan Tracy said Maine State Police called him March 4 this year and told him Lipscombe had been arrested in New York City after authorities there observed the suspect entering a building in Queens. Maine State Police asked Dan Tracy not to divulge that information until Lipscombe was indicted by a grand jury, so he kept to his promise, he said.

“I’m very impressed with the Maine State Police, to go to New York and track this guy down,” Dan Tracy said in an interview Wednesday.

He said Lipscombe remains behind bars in New York until other charges against him in that state are dealt with, and then he will be brought to Maine.

“They said it would be mid-June before he’s even in Maine,” Dan Tracy said.

Meanwhile, a woman at the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that she could not release any information about Tracy’s cause of death because “it’s still an open investigation at this time.”

The elder Tracy said neurologists said last year that his son would likely have been a paraplegic, had he lived.

Joseph Tracy was born in Waterville, grew up in the Shawmut area of Fairfield and attended Lawrence High School in the Class of 2006.

He was active and outgoing as a child, loved being outdoors and was a natural athlete who won many trophies and track championships, according to his family. He grew up loving dirt bikes and anything with a motor. Eventually, he got into motocross, racing motorcycles off-road all over the northeast. It was a big part of his life for a lot of years, Dan Tracy said. He said his son was a generous, kind-hearted person who’d give the shirt off his back, even if it was the only one he owned.

Before he died, Joseph Tracy had been staying in an apartment on his parents’ property in West Gardiner and had worked as a flagger for a road project. But he had done all sorts of jobs, including working for North Center Foods and UPS, his father said. He was dependable, and when he was working, was always up and out the door early.

Dan Tracy said last year that he and his family did not know who shot him or why.

On Wednesday, he said Lipscombe’s indictment comes as a relief, though it doesn’t bring back his son.

“It’s big relief, knowing he’s behind bars — he can’t do this to anyone else,” he said. “Nine months, he is out walking the streets, and Joe is dead. It’s a definite relief.”

He said he has not been told any details about how police identified his alleged killer or how they tracked him to New York. He said he doesn’t even know if New York is where Lipscombe lives.

“We don’t know any of that — how they actually knew for sure it was him,” he said. “We still know so little, really.”

Dan Tracy, who is the brother of Oakland police Chief Michael Tracy, said he doesn’t know the official cause of death for his son, as the Maine Office of Chief Medical Examiner will not release details. “It’s hard not knowing much, but I understand the reasoning behind it,” he said.

He also doesn’t know the circumstances of the shooting, but he believes his son was in the shower at an apartment at Home Place Inn at the time. He learned of the shooting, he said, when an emergency room doctor at Thayer called him on June 6, 2020.

“What I understood him to say was that Joe was in the shower and got shot,” he recalled.

After the shooting, Dan and Cindy Tracy went to the Portland hospital, where their son was in the intensive care unit on the sixth floor, but they were told they could not see him right away because of the coronavirus pandemic. After about two hours, Cindy Tracy was allowed to see him, and then Dan.

Surgeons said it would do no good to remove the bullet and they didn’t know if they could.

He died surrounded by his parents and sisters, Jessica Poulin and Jewell Arbo. His half-sister, Angela Horn, was at home in Ohio.

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