On Tuesday a group of protestors lined the sidewalk outside the Maine State House in Augusta demanding justice for a U.S. Army veteran who was shot and killed at a Vassalboro apartment building on Memorial Day last year.
Jeremy Gilley, a 37-year-old Iraq War veteran who previously had his lower legs amputated in 2011 after being hit by a van, died as a result of being shot inside an apartment building in Vassalboro, Maine on May 30, 2022.
Public information officer for the Maine Department of Public Safety Shannon Moss said in a statement after the incident that Vassalboro apartment building’s residents heard an argument between two of the residents.
Multiple gunshots were reported shortly after 9 a.m. in the hallway of the building.
Joshua Bilodeau of Vassalboro, 30, was also injured in the shooting and taken to hospital where he recovered.
Police declined to release the identity of a third man involved in the shooting who was not injured, though the man was later revealed to be Chris Bilodeau, Joshua’s brother.
Gilley, Joshua and Chris Bilodeau all lived inside the apartment building.
All residents of the apartment building, which contains nine apartments, were interviewed by police after the incident.
Gilley’s death was deemed a homicide. But no arrests were made, and the investigation continued with the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Maine Attorney General.
The Attorney General’s Office concluded that the shooting was done in self defense, and no charges were ever filed in relation to the incident.
Gilley was discharged honorably in 2010 from the U.S. Army after four years of service, including eight months of combat duty in Baghdad, Iraq.
In December 2011, Gilley lost his lower legs after he was hit by a van and pinned between two automobiles while helping another driver injured in an accident on Route 3 in Augusta.
The 16-year-old driver of the van that hit Gilley was not charged in relation to the crash.
Gilley walked using prosthetics following the 2011 accident and used a custom wheelchair.
Protesters stood outside the State House Tuesday holding signs with pictures of Gilley and text reading “He fought for us now we fight for him!”, “Honk for justice!”, “Justice for Jeremy Gilley” and “Veterans lives matter.”
Exactly one year since the Memorial Day 2022 shooting, Jeremy’s family and friends are still seeking answers and justice in relation to the incident.
Dottie Gilley, Jeremy’s aunt, was required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to view and get a copy of the autopsy report for the incident.
“If they’re not ashamed of their investigation, they would make that public,” Dottie said in an interview Wednesday.
The aim of Tuesday’s protest was “to get the Maine Attorney General’s Office and Maine State Police’s attention that we’re not going away,” Dottie said.
“We’re not gonna let them just not answer our questions that we have,” she said.
Dottie believes that the Attorney General’s Office and State Police conducted an incomplete and flawed investigation of the shooting, refusing to investigate evidence that Jeremy was being attacked by the Bilodeau brothers, and ballistic evidence that Jeremy was kicked out of his wheelchair when he shot Joshua Bilodeau.
Joshua was shot in the abdomen at an upward trajectory, which Dottie says would make it physically impossible for Jeremy to have been in an active shooter stance in his wheelchair.
“Jeremy was definitely not in that wheelchair, there was no blood, there were no holes,” Dottie said. “They never even took his wheelchair for forensics or fingerprints.”
Dottie also said that detectives refused to acknowledge discrepancies in the eye witness testimonies of the incident.
Jeremy’s family have tried for months to get the police to send their report of the 2022 incident to an insurance company, but Dottie says that they ran the Gilley family in circles and refused to send the report.
The State Police did eventually send a statement to Gilley’s insurance company in February so that the family could receive compensation, but never sent the actual police report.
“They don’t want anybody to see this police report so bad that they were hoping that they wouldn’t have to send nothing,” she said. “It’s so bad that they just want to keep it buried.”
“It is sickening, how [veterans] are treated,” she said.
“If I could find a news station, or somebody that would tell the Maine Attorney General’s Office that they want that police report and you starting reading it, the public would be outraged,” she added.
Dottie manages the “Justice For Jeremy Gilley” public Facebook group, and has started a GoFundMe in order to hire a private investigator and retain an attorney to help answer the questions she says the Maine Attorney General’s Office and State Police refuse to answer.