Girlfriend of man killed by York County sheriff’s deputy says he was tasered, shot twice

Sept. 10 — Megan Sweeney is still not sure who sent police to her front door Wednesday night.

After her fiance, Tyler Woodburn, returned from work around 6 p.m., he asked Sweeney if she wanted to go to the store with him.

They drove a bit on the way back and on the dirt road near her parents’ home in Waterboro, Woodburn “did what literally everyone in that neighborhood does and blew out,” Sweeney said, describing how she started the car’s engine and turned them around. wheels on the ground.

“Honestly, I think that’s why the cops were called, because I don’t know why the cops showed up,” Sweeney, 27, said.

Shortly after the couple arrived at the Rosemont Avenue home, York County Deputy Levi Johnson arrived. Sweeney and Woodburn live there with their children and her parents.

What happened next was terrifying, Sweeney said.

He watched as Woodburn and Johnson began to fight—a fight that ultimately claimed Woodburn’s life.

Two days later, Sweeney is still trying to understand Woodburn’s death and how it will affect their 1-year-old daughter.

“I want justice for him because my daughter now has to grow up without her dad and it’s the worst feeling,” Sweeney said. “This is only Day 2. I guess it’s just one foot in front of the other until I learn to walk through life without him.”

York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. said Friday that the Maine Attorney General’s Office is investigating the case and was unable to answer further questions.

Jessica Maher, an attorney for the Maine Fraternal Order of Police, said in response to a request to speak with Johnson that she had no comment other than to say the case is a tragedy for all involved. Maher said further questions should be directed to the attorney general’s office.

Dana Hayes, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said Friday that the office could not share more information about the case. When asked about specific details Sweeney provided, she said officials could not comment pending an investigation.

AG DENIED REQUEST FOR VIDEOS, 911 TRANSCRIPTS

The attorney general’s office also denied a public records request by the Press Herald seeking video and 911 transcripts from the incident. The office said there is no video showing the use of deadly force.

There is video recorded by the police unit that responded to the incident after the shooting, but the attorney general’s office said the video will not be released because of a state law that allows the records to be confidential “if there is a reasonable possibility that the public will be exposed to it.” interfere with law enforcement procedures or would constitute an unwelcome invasion of privacy.”

“For the same reasons, access to transcripts of any 911 calls is prohibited,” Brian McMaster, a special assistant in the attorney general’s office, said in an email.

In 2013, the Maine Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of The Press Herald regarding access to 911 transcripts, saying they are public records.

On Wednesday night, Sweeney said her mother initially spoke with Johnson outside when she arrived at their home. She wasn’t sure what her mother said to Johnson, but when the deputy got home, Woodburn was waiting. Johnson told Woodburn he needed to talk to him outside.

Sweeney said Woodburn told him, “No, we can talk here.”

He said Woodburn had been wrongfully imprisoned for an incident in Massachusetts years ago and had a general distaste for the police. But she said she had no problems at all during the time they were together.

“When (Johnson) said that’s not good enough, Tyler said, ‘Fine. We’re not talking,” Sweeney said. “He closed the door and the officer went to kick in my door and came in and grabbed Tyler and threw him down our stairs, which instigated this fight.”

Sweeney said Johnson tasered Woodburn seven times as the two struggled. When he finally pulled Woodburn off the deputy, Johnson shot him twice in the chest.

She said she wasn’t sure if Woodburn was holding the taser. He didn’t think the incident should have escalated to the point it did.

“I JUST KEEP WATCHING HIS BODY GO”

“A taser is very different from a firearm,” Sweeney said. “He could have shot him anywhere, and he shot him right in the chest from less than a foot away. And I keep seeing his body go limp.”

Sweeney said Woodburn was unarmed when he encountered Johnson at the home.

“If the cop hadn’t pushed him down the stairs, it wouldn’t have happened,” he said. “He just wouldn’t have. I know Tyler. He’s not one to just fight.”

Sweeney said she heard the officer mention something about a possible OUI, but said Woodburn hadn’t been drinking that night until after they got home. “This is not something to take someone’s life,” Sweeney said. “My little girl is never going to see her daddy again.”

Sweeney and Woodburn met about two years ago through a mutual friend. He said he fell in love with her after watching her take care of his now 2-year-old son Eddie. They got engaged after Sweeney became pregnant with their daughter, Lilith, who was born last year. The family recently celebrated their first birthday with a bounce house.

On Thursday night Lilith got scared and wouldn’t stop crying and saying ‘Daddy,’” Sweeney said. “He’s only 1, but he knows.”

The sheriff’s office had identified Woodburn as a New Hampshire resident, but Sweeney said he lived in Waterboro with her and her family, although he previously lived in New Hampshire. A Maine criminal background check returned no results for Woodburn on Friday. The results of a New Hampshire criminal record check were not available Friday.

“There was no need,” Sweeney said. “He had tasered him seven times already. He could have at least shot him to injure him. He didn’t have to kill him. He knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger and shot him twice.”

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