Oakland begins to put shooting behind them

The small community of Oakland, located just four miles west of Waterville, continues to feel the impact of the tragic events that occurred on Wednesday, November 4. Amanda Bragg, 30, Michael Muzerolle, 29, and Amy Derosby, 28, were all found dead inside their two-unit home on Belgrade Road. They were reportedly shot by 42 year-old Herman Derico, who then killed himself in the driveway outside of the home. The only resident to be spared of the shooting was four-year-old Arrianna, the daughter of  Bragg and Muzerolle. All living under the same roof, Derosby and Derico were also in a relationship, and Derosby and Bragg were sisters. Investigations are still underway to determine the motive behind this violent act and what exactly happened inside the house.

The shooting reportedly began around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. Police received a number of 911 calls, including one from one of the women, after she had already been shot and was in critical condition. Jason Thomas, a next-door neighbor, told ABC News that he heard two gunshots and called 911. He then heard a man yell, “I told you this was going to happen!” followed by a woman who pleaded, “Please don’t, please don’t.” That night, sirens were heard throughout Oakland.

Weeks later, the community of Oakland continues to feel the effects of the tragedy. Colby Assistant Professor of History Arnout van der Meer lives in Oakland near the scene of the crime. He told the Echo that the shooting has had a very strong impact on him and his family, which consists of his wife and two young daughters. He described the shooting as “shocking and disturbing” and emphasized that the situation as a whole “felt very threatening.” He said he and his wife, have even considered moving to a different town. However, he also alluded to the reality that events like the Oakland murder-suicide can happen anywhere and have little reflection on the town of Oakland in particular. Van der Meer explained that when such a traumatizing event occurs in a small community like Oakland, people get very shaken up and it is impossible to ignore the horror and reality of the event.

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Colby students also felt the impact of the shooting. Students received emails during the event while local police were still trying to locate the suspect and contain the situation. Students were advised to take caution and notify Campus Security if they saw anything suspicious. Luckily, about 40 minutes after the first email was sent, a second one followed, informing students that the situation was contained and there was no prevailing risk to the public. Though police were able to suppress and control the situation fairly quickly, the feelings of danger and fear were still very real for some Colby students.

The local community of Oakland and its surrounding areas have come together during this troubling time. This past Sunday, there was a candlelight vigil held at the town’s boat landing to remember the lives of those lost in the shooting. The Oakland Ministerial Alliance hosted the vigil, titled it “Comfort & Healing and Awareness & Awakening.” A group of about 200 people gathered at the Oakland Boat Landing on Old Belgrade Avenue, which included residents from all over the region as well as some of the Colby’s students. The vigil portrayed the togetherness felt by the Oakland community since the tragedy occurred. Oakland Police Detective Tracey Frost told the Bangor Daily News, “Everyone I’ve spoken to since this happened have said the same thing. They said, ‘This isn’t Oakland,’ and they’re right. This gathering—this celebration of hope—is Oakland.”

Along with the vigil, there have been many other events and efforts of aid and support the families affected by the shooting. A family friend set up a GoFundMe site to raise money for four year-old Arrianna, who is now living with her grandmother. The site has already raised $10,740 with donations from 164 people in 11 days. Moreover, Laura Benedict, owner of the Red Barn restaurant in Augusta, has begun her own fundraising to support Arrianna and the grieving families. She posted the GoFundMe link on her restaurant’s Facebook page and pledged that for every person who shares the fundraising site, she will donate $1 to the family, with a limit of $5,000. In addition to this, Benedict also hosted a benefit dinner at the Red Barn on Tuesday, donating half of the proceeds to the family. “It’s so terribly sad,” Benedict told Bangor Daily News. “I haven’t been able to sleep over this tragedy. We’re doing all we can. I didn’t know any of the people involved, but it’s just so sad.”

The shooting is said to be the worst murder-suicide in the community’s history. Local and State Police were unable to comment on the shooting since it is still under investigation, but the Echo was  informed that they are working diligently to get to the bottom of the crime. However, it is obvious that the community of Oakland continues to feel the strong impacts of this tragic event. For anyone who would like to contribute and help support Arrianna and her family, you can donate to her GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/t68nfc7k.

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