The Office of the Maine Attorney General has determined that police were justified in shooting a Rumford man who they say emerged from his van with a rifle and body armor after a SWAT team surrounded him and attempted to place him under arrest last September.

Shay McKenna Courtesy Laurie McKenna

Police killed Shay McKenna, 28, at the remote Rangeley Plantation grove where he was camping on Sept. 13, 2023, after he allegedly ignored officers’ orders that he come out unarmed. According to the AG’s findings, police fired twice because after he exited the van holding an AR-15-style rifle, they saw him “scanning the wood line, appearing to hunt for people.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised because everybody told me they’re going to rubber stamp it – they always do,” McKenna’s mother, Laurie McKenna, said Friday.

She told the Press Herald last fall that while she didn’t believe her son ever threatened police, she expected the AG’s office would find the shooting justified – as it has in every fatal shooting by police in at least the past 30 years.

“They’re a brotherhood. They’re going to stick together,” she said.

Police have said there is no body camera or dash camera footage depicting the shooting. The document released Friday references drone camera footage, but according to the AG’s office the drone only provided a live feed to police and did not record any video.


“It’s all just their word,” Laurie McKenna said. “I’m just angry that they can have no camera footage and just say this happened and we’re just supposed to take it as gospel.”

Shay McKenna had been facing a pending manslaughter charge after he fatally shot his younger brother Drew the previous December. His family said the shooting was the result of a tragic accident – an account the state did not dispute.

Police initially began looking for McKenna in September because he missed a court date, according to court records. Prosecutors agreed to revoke that arrest warrant after McKenna’s lawyer realized he had failed to notify his client of the court date, but by then police already had found evidence that McKenna had a gun at his campsite – a violation of his release conditions.

A tactical team of 10 officers surrounded McKenna’s campsite, according to the AG’s report. Officers identified themselves as police over a loudspeaker, and the SWAT vehicle activated its sirens.

Police also found several ammunition magazines, a large knife, and “military grade” glow sticks, on McKenna’s body, the report states.

Laurie and Mark McKenna pause while talking about their sons Drew and Shay in October 2023. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The family is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the state police, Laurie McKenna has said.

They and McKenna’s lawyer criticized police after the shooting for escalating the situation rather than attempting to peacefully contact McKenna through his loved ones. They noted his lack of a criminal record, other than the manslaughter charge, which they said was the result of an accident.

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