January 24

Gardiner shooting suspect arrested with gun, drugs in Massachusetts

Paul Coyne, 30, was caught in a parked car with his brother and girlfriend early Friday morning in Lynn, Mass.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

An Augusta felon wanted after a Gardiner shooting was arrested Friday morning in Massachusetts along with his girlfriend and his brother, with police saying they recovered a gun and what they believe is heroin.

Paul Coyne, 30, of Augusta, was caught about 1 a.m. by the Massachusetts State Police’s violent fugitive unit in Lynn, just north of Boston.

Coyne’s girlfriend, Martha Brown, 22, of Lynn, and brother, 32-year-old Michael Coyne, of Mercer, were with him in a parked car, according to a Massachusetts State Police news release.

Together, the three have 11 charges against them, including drug and gun charges. Police wanted Paul Coyne, who had seven warrants out for his arrest, in connection with a Thursday morning shooting on Gardiner’s Spring Street, but he wasn’t charged with it as of Friday.

The victim in the Gardiner shooting, a 26-year-old man whom police haven’t identified, was found early Thursday morning shot in the leg in his apartment at 32 Spring St. in Gardiner, but the shooter wasn’t there.

The victim, taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, was expected to make a full recovery and has been interviewed by police, said Chief James Toman, of the Gardiner police.

Dwight Fowles, acting director of security for the Maine Department of Corrections, said in a prepared statement Friday that the agency established a command center at the Adult Probation Office in Augusta after the shooting, where probation officers and investigators began searching for information on Coyne’s whereabouts.

Coyne was on probation with the Maine Department of Corrections, and Fowles said a probation officer found out that Coyne and Brown had left Maine and were in the Lowell, Mass., area.

Police believed after the shooting that Coyne was a passenger in a silver Chevrolet sedan, which matched the description of the car Massachusetts police found Friday morning. Toman said the car was registered to Brown.

In the news release, Massachusetts State Police said they recovered a 9 mm pistol, ammunition, a white powdery substance believed to be heroin and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. Toman said police don’t know if the handgun recovered by Massachusetts police is the same gun involved in the Gardiner shooting but will conduct ballistics testing to determine that.

On Friday, Paul Coyne was charged with knowingly being around heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws, disguising his identity to obstruct justice and being a fugitive from justice. Brown was cited on two gun charges, two drug charges and a knife violation; while Michael Coyne got two drug charges, Massachusetts State Police said. The three were arraigned Friday in Lynn District Court.

Toman said police also haven’t determined a motive in the shooting, saying only that there was a disagreement that turned physical and ended with a gunshot.

“We’ve only gotten half of the story,” Toman said. “We’ve got to try and talk to (Paul) Coyne and his girlfriend.”

Paul Coyne has a lengthy conviction history dating back to at least 2003.

Most recently, in February 2013, he was sentenced to four years in jail, with all but six months suspended and two years’ probation, for a conviction of assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs after reportedly stabbing a man in Winthrop during a fight related to drugs.

In August 2009, he was convicted on multiple charges including theft, eluding an officer and operating under the influence, after leading police on a 30-mile chase. During the pursuit, he rammed a police cruiser in Augusta. For that, he got 30 months in jail, a two-year license suspension and an order to pay restitution to the Maine State Police.

The Massachusetts release said Brown lives in Lynn, but Toman said she has connections in Augusta. She also has a police history in Maine: In July, she was indicted on drug charges, including trafficking in prison contraband.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652 mshepherd@centralmaine.com Twitter: @mikeshepherdme
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