First responders still in shock after 5-year-old's death

Scarborough police chief reflects on child's shooting

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - People in two communities are still devastated after the shooting death of a five-year-old girl.

Elise Dorr of Belfast died Monday night.

RELATED >> Belfast girl, 5, died of accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound, MSP says

Police say she accidentally shot herself at her grandparent's house in Scarborough.

Among those struck by this horrible accident are first responders.

Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton has worked for the department for almost 40 years, and he says situations like this never get any easier. That's why he's looking out for everyone's wellbeing - including his officers.

He says Dorr’s death is, “just something that we can all really relate to. I don't think anybody wants to see a child hurt.”

Chief Moulton felt he had to find a way to address the Scarborough community. So he took to Facebook, with a plea.

“I was hoping to get out ahead of this and say you know, let's not make this about guns,” he said. He doesn’t want people using a horrible tragedy as a springboard for any ideological agenda. “Let's focus on what really needs to happen right now, and that's to help this poor family regardless of the circumstances. They've been through a tragedy that I can't even imagine,” he said.

Another thing he asked for - compassion for his officers. He says Monday night's accident hit many first responders too close to home. “I think our people are professional enough that when it happens, you realize what needs to be done and you just do your job,” he said. “At the same time, is it hard? Sure. And do you really want to be doing that, or do you want to be home hugging your own kids?”

It's affected so many first responders so deeply, that the department is holding a required debriefing session with everyone who responded to the scene.

“Sometimes it's just that people need to talk,” Moulton said. “When they can do it in a confidential setting with folks that I've been through it with them, it's helpful.”

That required meeting with all first responders will happen Friday morning.

Chief Moulton says at times it's hard to get officers to talk about their feelings, for a fear of not coming off as tough.

That's why he made this meeting a requirement.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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