Attorneys, law enforcement point to gaps in law around domestic violence

Law changes may be needed after Naples/Casco shooting.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 

Law enforcement, civil attorneys, and domestic violence resource groups are pointing to gaps in Maine law regarding a shooting in the Lakes Region that left two men, including the shooter, dead and one man injured.

Spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety Steve McCausland said 59-year-old Norman Strobel was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with Cumberland County Sheriff's Deputies at a Songo School Road mobile home.

Police say Strobel had a long criminal history, and was a convicted felon in Rhode Island. Some of his charges involved domestic violence.

Strobel's girlfriend, Sandra Goulet, filed a protection from abuse order against him in July 2016. At that time, Strobel was also served a order to relinquish his firearms. Court documents show that Goulet reported to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office on multiple occasions that she believed Strobel had a nine millimeter handgun. Sheriff Kevin Joyce said officers found both a nine millimeter handgun and a Glock handgun at the two shooting scenes, but did not say if either gun belonged to Strobel.

Civil attorney Lucia Hunt of Pine Tree Legal Assistance handles many domestic violence cases. She said there are gaps in the law about how the relinquish orders are enforced.

"For victims of domestic violence, there's not necessarily a clear avenue to understand who is responsible for following up on any concerns that they might have that the person that has an order against them still has a firearm," said Hunt.

She said the relinquish order does not serve as a search warrant for officers, which leaves them to rely on the defendant's honesty about how many guns they have or have had and where the guns are now.

Strobel later violated the protection order, which then allowed law enforcement officers to perform "random searches," according to court documents, for any weapons he may have had. A sergeant with the Gorham Police Department confirmed that the random searches essentially constitutes an "open door" policy for police to search for firearms.

Police still have not released the details regarding who owned the guns used in the shootings, nor if sheriff's deputies seized any firearms from the residence during any earlier interactions with Strobel.

Joyce said deputies had tried in the past to make contact with Strobel, but were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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