The Bread of Life shelter on Hospital Street in Augusta is seen Oct. 14, the day after police were called for a report of a man with a knife. Officers shot and killed the man. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Newly-released video and audio recordings of the deadly police shooting of Dustin J. Paradis, an autistic man who was living at the Bread of Life shelter, appear to show that Paradis moved toward officers with a knife in his hand and told them to kill him.

Four pieces of footage recorded before, during and after the Oct. 13 incident were released by the Office of the Maine Attorney General this week in response to a Freedom of Access Act request filed by the Kennebec Journal.

Augusta police officers Sabastian Guptill, right, and Sgt. Christopher Blodgett are seen raising their guns toward Dustin J. Paradis inside the Bread of Life Shelter in Augusta, moments before they shot and killed the knife-wielding man. Video screenshot

Footage from security cameras inside Bread of Life’s Hospital Street shelter appears to show two Augusta police officers — previously identified as Sabastian Guptill and Sgt. Christopher Blodgett — come into the entryway of the shelter, draw their guns and position themselves, Guptill in front, Blodgett behind him, just outside the doorway to the adjacent room.

The officers can be seen talking with someone who is not in that camera shot, believed to be Paradis, in the next room. After roughly 45 seconds, they both suddenly raise their guns and fire multiple times. They appeared to lower their weapons slightly, directing their weapons’ trajectory downward, between shots, as they fired into the next room.

A second video — taken in a room adjacent to the entryway where police were standing just outside the doorway between those two rooms — shows Paradis, with what appears to be a knife in his hand, at first standing and briefly talking with the officers. Paradis then quickly steps forward, knife still in his hand, toward the doorway where the two officers were standing with their guns drawn.


A timestamp on the video indicates he moved toward the door at the same time that the other video indicates officers fired their weapons into that room.

Dustin J. Paradis is seen holding a knife in a video image taken inside the Bread of Life Shelter in Augusta. The image comes moments before Paradis steps toward two police officers, who repeatedly asked Paradis to drop the knife, before he was shot and killed by them. Video screenshot

Audio of the incident, taken by the officers’ microphones and recorded on the dash cameras of their cruisers, indicates police shouted multiple times at Paradis to drop the knife. And Paradis, 34, can be heard shouting back, “Kill me!” repeatedly.

That exchange continues for several seconds, with one of the officers saying they did not want to kill Paradis, and repeatedly telling him to drop the knife.

“Drop the knife!” police can be heard saying. “I do not want to kill you; please drop that knife for me sir!”

After more of that back and forth, several loud bangs can be heard, then moaning.

Police then reported over their radios that shots had been fired and a subject was down.


Radio broadcasts during Guptill’s drive to the scene say a man was reported to have a knife and had cut himself at the shelter, and a woman at the shelter tells Blodgett, as he nears the entrance, that a man had a knife and was cutting himself inside.

Augusta police Chief Jared Mills said Friday he could not comment due to the still-ongoing investigation into the shooting by AG’s office, which is standard procedure. The AG’s office investigates all police shootings in Maine.

Last month, when Blodgett and Guptill returned to duty  following an internal investigation, Mills said video footage of the incident was reviewed as part of that investigation and Augusta police’s internal review of the shooting determined no corrective or disciplinary action should be taken against either of them, according to Mills. The officers were placed on administrative leave with pay following the shooting, as is the department’s practice.

“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 after Guptill and Blodgett returned to duty the week of Nov. 18.

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


After the shooting, Blodgett and Guptill talk briefly on the video recordings while leaning on Blodgett’s police truck. Blodgett asks if Guptill is all right, and he responds that he is. Blodgett then says to Guptill, “He didn’t leave us a choice.”

The video released by the AG’s office was redacted to remove parts of the recording which were not related to the use of deadly force, according to Brian MacMaster, chief of investigations for the AG’s office.

Tammy Woodcock, Paradis’ mother, said after the shooting that her son was caring and kind to others. But sometimes, especially when he was off his medications, he fell into a rage and would lash out by damaging objects, such as kitchen cabinets.

Friends of Dustin Paradis toss flowers into the Kennebec River in Augusta on Nov. 3 during a memorial service for the 34-year-old man who was shot and killed by police Oct. 13 during a confrontation with officers at the Bread of Life Shelter in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Sometimes, she said, he would even grab a knife. While that prompted numerous police responses in Indiana where he grew up, he never used the knives he grabbed on about a dozen other occasions, and Woodcock said her son was not a threat to cut police or anyone else.

Reached on Friday, Woodcock declined to comment about the videos.

Witnesses said that prior to the shooting Paradis had been in a confrontation with another man staying at the shelter, who had been antagonizing him and calling him names, They said that Paradis had had enough and hit the man in the head with a bowl.

In early November, friends of Paradis gathered by the Kennebec River to honor his memory and described him as talented, loving, kind and giving.

At a news conference the day after the shooting, Mills said a mental health worker with the department was working that night, but the incident took place so quickly and the call of a report of a man with a knife threatening people at the shelter was so urgent that the mental health worker did not have time to get there before the fatal confrontation.

Mills said Augusta police are trained to try to de-escalate a situation as soon as they get to a scene, but the armed confrontation with Paradis took place almost immediately after they arrived.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: