LAMOINE — The state police detective who shot Leon Tilden, 27, of Lamoine did so to protect his fellow officers, according to a report released Friday by state Attorney General William Schneider.
State Police Detective Randall Keaten fired “several rounds” at Leon Tilden after spotting him carrying a shotgun and running in the direction of other State Police Tactical Team members, Schneider said.
Leon hours earlier had shot and killed his father, Robert Tilden, and uncle, Russell Pinkham, both 50, outside the Tildens’ Bobolink Lane home. Pinkham lived next door.
Mortally wounded, Leon died after being airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center.
State police said at the time that Tilden’s mother, Lori, alerted police to the shootings shortly after they occurred at 3:30 a.m. She said Leon had left the area in his father’s pickup truck.
A Hancock County deputy sheriff arrived at the scene and spotted the truck a short distance away from the Pinkham residence.
Because Leon was believed to be in the area the State Police Tactical Team was summoned, Schneider said.
Members of the Tactical Team, among them State Police Detective Keaten, were deployed in positions around both the Tilden and Pinkham residences, Schneider said.
“As members of the Tactical Team took up positions, they received reports that Mr. Tilden was possibly in possession of several firearms, including a 30.06 rifle, a 30.30 rifle, a .410 shotgun, a 20 gauge shotgun and a .22 caliber pistol,” Schneider said.
He said the team learned that Leon had been arrested in the past for assault and terrorizing.
Schneider said team was told that Leon had been arguing with family members about discharging firearms at night near the Tilden and Pinkham homes.
“Tactical Team members were also aware that Mr. Tilden had expressed a desire at some point in the past to engage in a shootout with the police,” Schneider said.
He said the Tactical Team searched outbuildings on the Tilden property and Leon was spotted leaving the Pinkham house and disappearing from view.
“A few of the officers deployed around the Pinkham residence caught glimpses of Mr. Tilden, armed with a long gun, as he moved quickly into the wooded area,” Schneider said.
Within minutes Keaten saw Tilden running along a trail about 20 yards from Keaten. He saw that Tilden was carrying a shotgun and running in the direction of the other Tactical Team members who were still in the area of the Tilden residence.
“Concerned with Mr. Tilden’s close promixity and believing that Mr. Tilden may be trying to flank team members placing them in imminent danger, Det. Keaten fired several rounds at Mr. Tilden from a distance of about 15 yards,” Schneider said.
Schneider said a sawed-off shotgun Leon had been carrying was found beside him. Later, a high-powered semi-automatic rifle was found in his father’s pickup truck.
The investigation following the shootings was conducted by the Office of the Attorney General, state police, members of the Maine Warden Service, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and Dr. Edward David of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Ferenc conducted a post mortem exam.
Ferenc “found the pattern of the gunshot wounds to be consistent with Mr. Tilden having been carrying a long gun with his right hand on the trigger and his left hand supporting the barrel when he was shot by Detective Keaten,” Schneider said.
“At the time the shots were fired at Mr. Tilden by Detective Keaten it was reasonable for Detective Keaten to believe that deadly force was imminently threatened against him and other Tactical Team members,” Schneider said.
“It is beyond the scope of this report and beyond the authority and expertise of this office to determine Leon Tilden’s motivations, his state of mind, or the medical or psychological underpinnings of his behavior and actions on October 23, 2012,” he concluded.
Find a copy of the full report at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=AGOffice_Press&id=477225&v=article10.