The Bread of Life shelter on Hospital Street in Augusta. A man who was allegedly armed with a knife and threatening other residents at the shelter was shot and killed by police officers Oct. 13. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — The two Augusta Police officers involved with the fatal shooting of a man last month at a homeless shelter are back on duty following an internal investigation by the department.

Dustin Paradis Contributed photo

The department’s internal probe into the use of deadly force by Officer Sabastian Guptill and Sgt. Christopher Williams determined no corrective or disciplinary action should be taken against either of them, according to Police Chief Jared Mills.

Both officers returned to work earlier this week, though they are under some restrictions on what types of calls they’ll be sent to as they work their way back into their usual roles as police officers, Mills said. They were on paid administrative leave during the internal investigation.

Dustin Paradis, 34, who family members say was autistic, was killed the evening Oct. 13 in a confrontation with the officers. Police were called to the Bread of Life Shelter on Hospital Street for a report of a man armed with a knife and threatening other residents. Officers found Paradis, who police say was brandishing a knife and another man with injuries not considered life-threatening.

A resident of the shelter who said he witnessed the police shooting said Paradis had a knife in his hand but backed up a step when confronted by police, and was not a threat to anybody but himself.

“The entire incident was captured on video, which enabled our investigators to verify all the information they had been provided through a number of witness interviews,” Mills said. “There is no corrective action being taken against either officer based upon the comprehensive investigation that was completed.”


Mills declined to release the findings of the internal investigation, stating that such a report would only be public information if corrective or disciplinary action were taken against either officer.

Neither of the officers could be reached for comment Thursday on their return to duty or on the shooting incident.

Paradis’ mother, Tammy  Woodcock, who has said previously police did not need to shoot her son because he was not a threat to others, declined to comment on the officers’ return to work or the finding of the internal police department investigation that no corrective action was needed.

An investigation into the shooting by the state Office of the Attorney General is still underway. The AG’s office investigates all police shootings in Maine and typically takes months or years to complete such reviews.

Augusta Police Chief Jared Mills speaks at a news conference Oct. 14 at the Augusta Police Department. Mills said deadly force was used Wednesday night after a man threatened residents at the Bread of Life Shelter. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

It’s the second Augusta shooting incident officer Guptill has been involved in since joining the department in April 2018 and graduating from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in May 2019. The first incident was not fatal. In 2019 Guptill shot Robert Farrington of Fairfield during an armed confrontation, inside a home where police were looking for Farrington on charges of domestic violence assault and cruelty to animals. Guptill was placed on paid administrative leave while Augusta police conducted an internal investigation of that incident. In January 2020 he returned to work after that internal investigation yielded no corrective action, Mills said at the time.

Mills said the state AG’s office has a huge backlog of cases it is working on so it is not practical for law enforcement agencies to keep their officers out of work for the entire length of time the review by the AG’s office is expected to take. He said it is practical for officers to return to work before the AG’s investigation is complete as long as an internal investigation has been completed and there are no indications of wrongdoing on the part of the officer.

Mills said both officers are back full-time but both are also under restrictions initially to prevent them from being sent as the first officers to other potentially high-risk calls, such as another armed confrontation. He said a department program “monitors all of our officers who have been involved in high-risk incidents which this certainly qualifies as. Part of this program is to monitor the calls they are assigned to as the first responder so they are not thrust into a high-risk situation immediately upon return to work.”

He also said department protocol requires officers involved in such incidents to be evaluated by a medical professional with expertise in that area before returning to duty.

“The results of the medical professional’s examination along with all the investigation that has gone into this incident has provided me with the absolute confidence these officers are ready and prepared to return to work,” Mills said.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.