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Courts and Crime

Investigation Continues in Shooting Deaths of 4 in Oakland

OAKLAND, Maine — Police are still trying to figure out the circumstances behind the shooting deaths of four people here Wednesday night.

Herman Derico, 42, allegedly shot and killed 30-year-old Amanda Bragg, 29-year-old Michael Muzerolle and 28-year-old Amy Derosby before taking his own life.

Chris Perry, a salesman for a dairy company, lives in Florida but grew up in Waterville and travels back to Maine frequently for work. On his trips, he stays at the family house he owns on Belgrade Road in Oakland. Wednesday afternoon, Perry had just arrived back in Maine.

"I actually left the house about 5," he says. "My neighbors were all outside. Mikey was there and maybe one or two others. I just was going to the car. I looked over, gave 'em a wave cause I hadn't talked to them yet."

Perry returned at 8 p.m. from dinner with friends and backed his car into the driveway.

"Put the car in park, and literally, as soon as I put it in park, I heard two gunshots," he says.

Perry rolled down his window and heard what sounded like screaming and crying.

"So anyways, I got out of the car," he says. "It had been a couple minutes. Went to the garage, hit the keypad to go in. I kinda looked over and I saw the gentleman who lives upstairs. Actually the guy that ended up killing himself out in the driveway. I just wanted to get in the house and call the police and see if they could come see what's going on."

"We do not have answers," says Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland, who briefed reporters on the investigation into the killings early Wednesday afternoon in front of the house where the violence took place.

Here's what authorities do know: Two of the victims, Amanda Bragg and Michael Muzerolle, lived in an apartment on the first floor of the house with their 3-year-old daughter. The third victim, Amy Derosby, Bragg's sister, lived upstairs with the alleged shooter, Herman Derico.

McCausland says one of the 911 calls that began coming in at a little after 8 p.m. was from Bragg, who, at the time, lay wounded inside the house.

"And she gave out valuable information that helped first responders when they got here," he says. "When the state police tactical team arrived, their main priority was to check on the victims they knew were inside the first-floor apartment. They made entry and that's when they brought the young girl out."

Police recovered two of the bodies during that initial entry and the third later in the evening. McCausland says authorities are working hard to find out what happened and why.

"We are doing a number of interviews with friends, family and relatives of all four," he says. "Evidence technicians have been here, from the state police, gathering evidence that will be taken back to the crime laboratory. The gun that was found at the scene here will be analyzed."

Derico was the only one of the four who wasn't from Maine — he was from California. McCausland says an initial database search turned up no criminal record for Derico in Maine. He says authorities are still doing searches to see if the alleged shooter has a record in any other states.