A little girl named Arrianna, 4, is now an orphan after both her parents were killed in a shocking shooting in a small Maine town that none of the neighbors saw coming.
The man who police reportedly believe may have committed the shooting Wednesday night is Herman Derico, 42, who isn’t from Maine but had moved to the area a few months ago, neighbors told The Kennebec Journal. Derico allegedly shot and killed three of his roommates, and then killed himself in the driveway.
Maine police are still determining the shooter’s motive and caution they may never unearth one. Killed in the shooting are two sisters, Amanda Bragg, 30, and Amy Derosby, 28. Amy was dating Derico and lived upstairs in the apartment the group shared in Oakland, Maine. The final shooting victim is Bragg’s boyfriend, Michael Muzerolle, 29.
Arrianna is Michael and Amanda’s daughter.
“We will work on getting that answer, but there’s no guarantees we’re going to come up with an answer,” said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine town’s Department of Public Safety. “At this point, that answer is elusive.”
In a tragic twist, both sisters killed in the shooting managed to speak to someone in the moments before they died — one to a neighbor, and the other to a 911 operator.
Wednesday evening, neighbor Jason Thomas — whose daughters often played with Arrianna — saw Derico outside hours before the shooting. Everything seemed normal, but Thomas said he could tell the man had been drinking, he told The Bangor Daily News.
Later that evening, Jason was smoking a cigarette on his back deck and heard a “commotion” of some kind next door, then two gunshots and a man yelling. Then came the sound of a woman’s voice, saying, “Please no, please help me.”
After running into his house, locking the door and telling his girlfriend and daughters to stay inside, Thomas called 911 to report the shooting and then neighbor, Michael Muzerolle’s, phone number. His girlfriend, Amanda, answered. He asked her if she was okay. She said she couldn’t move, then the line went dead.
“I was scared for her. I was worried for her because there were so many cops outside, and I didn’t hear them in the background.”
Meanwhile, Amy called 911 and just before she died, shared “valuable” information about the shooting, but that information wasn’t specified. Police arrived moments later, filling the quiet Maine neighborhood with sirens and flashing lights, neighbors told the local papers.
Maine police found Michael, Amy, and Amanda in the house and Derico outside, the gun beside his body. Arrianna was found among the dead, the Daily News noted, but unharmed. Autopsies conducted by Maine medical examiner’s office revealed that the shooter and his girlfriend died of gunshot wounds. The other victims likely suffered from the same cause of death.
McCausland said he didn’t know how much the child saw or heard, but noted that she was in the apartment at the time of the shooting. Now, she’ll be cared for by her grandmother, who lost both of her daughters in the shooting.
“That little girl is so young,” neighbor Holly Moore told Maine station WMTW. “It’s just upsetting because I saw them two days ago and everything was fine, and now they’re all dead.”
The shooting personally affected the police chief of this small Maine town; Michael was the only son of Chief Michael Tracy’s youngest sister. He was given the terrible job of telling her about the shooting.
“She took it really hard. That’s the danger of working as a police officer in your own town. If a tragic event happens, it is more than likely that it will be someone you know.”
Prior to the shooting, Derico didn’t have a criminal record in Maine, though a national check is pending. The police had never had reason to visit the house, and neighbors didn’t remember any incidents. The shooting brings Maine’s homicide tally for 2015 to 17, and is the first homicide in the small Maine town, called Oakland, in a decade.
The shooting victims are all remembered by friends and neighbors in Maine as kind people, The Portland Press Herald reports. All were Maine natives. Michael was the neighborhood handyman, Amanda a bright, straight-A student, and Amanda had posted on Facebook in August that she’d just met her husband, though it’s not clear if she meant Derico.
“You don’t expect something like this to happen in a small town,” said neighbor Izzy Spencer.
[Photo Via YouTube Screengrab]