Attorney general finds officers justified in fatal shooting

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s top prosecutor will not bring criminal charges against four law enforcement officers who fatally shot a man holding a knife that they say they thought was a firearm.

Attorney General Aaron Frey said in a letter on Monday that the four officers were justified in shooting Jason Gora, 44, in February last year, WGME-TV reported. The officers were initially placed on paid leave following the shooting.

The letter described over a day of interactions between members of Gora’s family and the Auburn Police Department over concerns Gora was expressing suicidal thoughts and was a danger to himself.

When officers finally located him driving in his vehicle on Feb. 2, 2020, Gora sped away, and officers from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department followed him on a high speed chase, the attorney general’s investigation found.

Gora eventually slammed his vehicle into the cruiser of an officer from the Mechanic Falls Police Department, exited his car and ran into a field where officers said he turned toward them holding something they thought was a gun.

All four opened fire, killing Gora. Officers found a large knife near Gora, but not a gun. The attorney general found the officers reasonably feared they were in serious danger and were justified in using deadly force.

An autopsy found that Gora was struck eight times and had high levels of methamphetamine in his system.

In more than 130 reviews of the use of deadly force by officers since 1995, the Office of the Maine Attorney General has found officers were justified and should not face criminal charges, the broadcaster reported.