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October 24, 2012

Trooper fatally shoots suspect in Lamoine double slaying

Leon Tilden, 27, was the subject of a manhunt Tuesday morning after Tilden's father and uncle were shot to death.

The Associated Press

LAMOINE — A man who shot his father and uncle to death was himself fatally shot by a member of the state police tactical team following a manhunt Tuesday by troopers, sheriff's deputies and game wardens, police said.

Leon Tilden in a 2008 photo provided by Maine State Police

Leon Tilden, 27, was fatally wounded during an armed confrontation with troopers who'd been looking for him, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Tilden was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he died 1½ hours later.

The Hancock County Sheriff's Department called for reinforcements after receiving the 911 call shortly after 3:30 a.m. and failing to locate Tilden, who's accused of killing the men outside his father's house.

The victims were Tilden's father, Robert Tilden, 50, and his uncle, Russell Pinkham, 50, who lived next door, McCausland said. His mother and his brother also were at home when the violence erupted but weren't harmed.

"Our hearts go out to the surviving members of the family," Maine State Police Lt. Col. Raymond Bessette told reporters.

The state police tactical team joined troopers and deputies who converged on the area, and game wardens brought in tracking dogs. A police officer was sent to an elementary school to provide security as officers searched the woods.

Law enforcement officers eventually found the younger Tilden in a smaller home on the property, McCausland said.

"He came out and confronted the troopers," he said.

Detective Randall Keaten, who fired at Tilden, was placed on administrative leave while the attorney general's office investigates the use of deadly force, which is standard practice in police shootings, McCausland said.

State police detectives were looking into what sparked the violence, the second fatal shooting this year in Lamoine, a town of 1,600 residents located on the mainland across Eastern Bay from Mount Desert Island.

Pinkham worked as a truck driver and Robert Tilden worked as a bloodworm digger, said Stu Marckoon, an administrative assistant to the board of selectmen.

"Both of them were the nicest guys you'd want to meet," Marckoon said. "They were delightful when they'd come into the office to transact whatever they needed to transact. They were just good down-to-earth folks."

Robert Tilden was featured on the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," demonstrating how to dig bloodworms for host Mike Rowe.

Marckoon said it was unusual to have two violent episodes in the quiet town in less than a year.

In March, a man was shot to death and two others were wounded following a dispute outside a home.

Carter, who's being held without bail, is charged with murder in the death of Lawrence "Randy" Sinclair, as well as elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.

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