Published Date Written by Craig LyonsAn investigation into the use of deadly force by two federal officers when they attempted to apprehend a suspect — who first fired at them — was justified, a state report detailed.
On Friday, the Maine Office of the Attorney General released its report on the January shootout and determined the use of deadly force by two federal officers was justified in the non-lethal shooting of a suspect. The investigation was conducted after two members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Violent Offender Task Force — deputies Michael Tenuta and John Gill — fired at a suspect, Arien L’Italien, 23, of Biddeford, after having been shot at themselves on Jan. 27.
“... At the time shots were fired at Mr. L’Italien by deputy marshals Tenuta and Gill, it was reasonable for both officers to believe that unlawful deadly force was imminently threatened against them, as well as other officers, and it was reasonable for both officers to believe that it was necessary for them to use deadly force to protect themselves and other officers from the imminent threat of deadly force posed by Mr. L’Italien’s actions,” concluded Attorney General William Schneider in the report.
In March, while L’Italien was awaiting trial at the Cumberland County Jail, he was caught slipping out of his cell and having sex with Karla Wilson, another inmate at the facility. He slipped from his maximum-security Cumberland County Jail unit by manipulating the lock, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.
The attorney general’s report details the search for L’Italien that led to his wounding and arrest.
The search for L’Italien began on Jan. 17 when a warrant was issued by York County Superior Court for his arrest on a charge of aggravated assault. During the initial investigation into L’Italien’s whereabouts, authorities learned that he had a handgun in his possession, was allegedly involved in the robbery of drug traffickers and had reportedly discharged the gun while a passenger in a vehicle on the Maine Turnpike, according to the report.
Investigators found that L’Italien had been dropped off in Portland to meet with someone at a Cumberland Avenue house.
Once in Portland, marshals located L’Italien at a Cumberland Avenue apartment and followed him to the Mellen Street Market.
After following L’Italien, who was walking with another man, marshals identified themselves and ordered him to stop, according to the report. The two men took off running, according to the report, and L’Italien turned toward officers holding a .40-calibur pistol and fired four rounds at the officers.
Tenuta and Gill returned fire and one of the eight rounds shot by the two hit L’Italien in the leg.
The attorney general’s investigation was unable to determine which of the marshals fired the bullet that struck L’Italien.
Following the shootout, L’Italien was taken into custody and treated at Maine Medical Center.
L’Italien was sentenced to 18 years in prison in July after he pleaded guilty to charges of assault on a federal officer, illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and using a firearm in the furtherance of a crime of violence.