AUBURN, Maine — The shooting that ended in the death of a 41-year-old Turner man last weekend at the Walmart in Auburn had its roots in bad blood between two former coworkers who hadn’t seen each other since April.
That’s according to a court affidavit released Friday as the suspect in the shooting, 21-year-old Gage Dalphonse, made his first appearance before a judge. He was denied bail and will continue to be held at the Androscoggin County Jail.
Family and friends of the victim, Jean Fournier, and the suspect packed the courtroom.
Police were called to the store shortly before 7 p.m. last Saturday and arrived to find Fournier lying on his back unconscious. He was later pronounced dead at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, according to the affidavit.
Dalphonse told police he had driven his car to Walmart with a friend last Saturday night to pick up the friend’s car, the affidavit said. The friend told police they were returning to Walmart after a day of target practice at a gun range.
When they arrived, a crowd of about 20 people were in the travel lane, including a former coworker with whom Dalphonse had argued at work.
His former colleague — Fournier’s girlfriend, according to the affidavit — approached Dalphonse, and the two exchanged insults, according to the affidavit.
The shooting suspect told police he continued driving.
Eventually, he pulled into a parking space across from his former colleague’s car, and Fournier approached Dalphonse’s car. Fournier told the 21-year-old to apologize to his former coworker, Dalphonse told police.
Dalphonse declined to apologize, he said.
After that exchange, Dalphonse told police Fournier reached into the car and punched him. Dalphonse’s friend told police Fournier slapped him, while other witnesses didn’t notice Fournier punching the shooting suspect. One witness told police that Fournier didn’t seem angry while Dalphonse appeared erratic, according to the affidavit.
That witness said that Dalphonse shot the gun outside the driver’s-side window after Fournier had turned to walk away. He hit Fournier twice in the back, according to the affidavit.
Dalphonse “said it was over in a split second,” the affidavit said.
An autopsy determined Fournier died from two gunshot wounds. One ruptured his heart and the other lodged in his spine.
Jean Fournier “would give you the shirt off of his back just to help you no matter what it was even if he didn’t know you,” Bianca Dibiase said. “He would do whatever he could to help you if you were really down and out. Jean was a good man he did not deserve that.”
Dalphonse’s family declined to comment.
If convicted, Dalphonse faces 25 years to life in prison.