BIDDEFORD - A 74-year-old Biddeford man was arrested and charged with two counts of murder after a standoff with police on Saturday evening, Dec. 29, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
James Pak is accused of killing Derrick Thompson, 19, and his girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18, who was a recent graduate of Thornton Academy in Saco, according to Patricia Erikson, the school's spokeswoman.
Thompson's mother, Susan Johnson, 44, is being treated for gunshot wounds at Maine Medical Center in Portland, McCausland said. He said Pak is currently being held at the York County Jail in Alfred and is expected to make a court appearance on either Monday, Dec. 31, or Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Also in the Biddeford Pool home at the time of the shooting was Johnson's 6-year-old son, Brayden, who was rescued by police and is uninjured, McCausland said. He said that the Johnson and her family moved into a rental unit owned by Pak in October and police are now investigating whether the shootings were related to any ongoing landlord-tenant disputes.
McCausland said officers with the Maine State Police and Biddeford Police Department would continue to investigate the shootings and would be at the house most of Sunday gathering evidence and conducting interviews. The address of the house where the shootings took place is 17 Sokokis Road. McCausland said it's a Cape Cod-style home with an addition that houses the apartment being rented by Johnson and her family.
He said the bodies of Thompson and Welch were transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Augusta on Sunday morning where autopsies were scheduled to begin in the afternoon.
McCausland said police responded to the scene after getting a call from Johnson at about 7 p.m. on Saturday. Pak was taken into custody after surrendering to police following a standoff, which ended about 10 p.m.
McCausland said the State Police Tactical Team and negotiators responded to the scene at the request of Biddeford Police.
Erikson, from Thornton Academy, said in a press release, "Students, staff, and alumni of Thornton Academy are grieving the tragic and senseless loss of a member of the TA family - 2012 graduate Alivia Welch - who died last night, along with Derrick Thompson, in Biddeford."
Erikson said Welch was active in cheerleading her freshman year, on the staff of the student publication, "Carpe Diem," her sophomore year, and took some college prep and honors courses so that she could enroll at Southern Maine Community College and pursue a career in nursing.
Thornton Academy English teacher Misharra Hefler said, "(Welch) was a wonderful student and such a sweet person when I had her in class. My heart goes out to her family."
And Headmaster Rene Menard said, "All of the deans and guidance counselors who worked with Alivia recall her as a bright student with a sweet disposition who was kind and well-liked by her peers. Our hearts go out to the members of her family and all of her friends. A loss like this is felt across the entire community."
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