Details emerge about March 15 Swanville shooting death of Belfast man

Morrill man reportedly shot girlfriend’s ex in stomach, head

Posted:  Monday, March 18, 2019 - 8:30pm
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Additional details have emerged about the March 15 shooting death of 26-year-old Shane Sauer, who resided in Belfast prior to his death.

Austin McDevitt, 22, was arrested the same day and has been charged with intentional or knowing murder as a result of the shooting.

According to an affidavit filed by Maine State Police Detective Scott Quintero, the shooting was reported to the Waldo Regional Communications Dispatch Center at 4:46 a.m., when a caller reported a shooting and named McDevitt as the shooter.

Around 5 a.m., dispatch received another call, this time from McDevitt himself, who was calling from the lobby of the Belfast Police Department.

McDevitt reportedly stated that, “he had been sleeping at his girlfriend’s and woke up to getting his ‘ass kicked’ by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend and that he shot him [Shane Sauer].”

He stated that the gun used was locked in the glove box of his vehicle, which was parked in from of the Police Department, according to the affidavit.

Waldo County Sheriff’s Sergeant Merle Reed and Officer Lewis Dyer, of the Belfast Police Department, arrived at the scene of the shooting around 5:15 a.m., where they discovered a man performing CPR on Shane Sauer, who had yet to be identified. In addition to the man performing CPR, there were three women at the scene.

Sauer was pronounced deceased by rescue personnel after they arrived on the scene.

Maine State Police Detectives Chris Crawford and Benjamin Sweeney interviewed a woman, who told them that McDevitt called her on March 14 and wanted to meet her in Belfast at 11 p.m. to talk. After talking in Belfast they traveled to her mother’s home, which was the site of the shooting.

According to the affidavit, the woman and McDevitt went into the home for a little while and then went to a camp on the property. The woman reportedly stated that a short time later she woke up to Shane Sauer and McDevitt fighting in the camp and that Sauer was on top of McDevitt before the fight ended a few seconds later.

The woman reportedly said that Sauer was upset that she was dating McDevitt and sat crying on a bed briefly before getting up to leave. After trying to get Sauer to stay and talk, the woman said she was holding his hand as he was leaving when she heard several gunshots and saw that Sauer was shot in the head. She allegedly told detectives she did not see the shooter.  

McDevitt was interviewed by state Detectives Scott Quintero and Jason Andrews at the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, where he reportedly consented to speak with them.

According to the affidavit, McDevitt said he met the woman at the family residence around midnight and socialized with her and her family until around 3. At that time he and the woman went to sleep in the camp behind the home, where he said he later woke up to being punched by Sauer.

The physical confrontation is reported to have lasted a few seconds inside the camp. McDevitt stated that he put Sauer in a choke hold, who, in turn, grabbed McDevitt’s testicles before both agreed to “terminate the fight.”

McDevitt reportedly told detectives that he was familiar with Sauer and believed he was in a relationship with the woman and that it was in the process of ending. 

After the physical confrontation, McDevitt said he dressed and went outside after tucking a pistol into the waistband of his pants. He said Sauer sat down on the bed in the camp, according to the affidavit. McDevitt stood outside for roughly two minutes before Sauer left the home, which is when McDevitt alleges that Sauer said, “I am going to kill you.”

In response, McDevitt reportedly said he pulled his pistol, put a round in the chamber and pointed the gun at Sauer’s “center mass,” the affidavit said.

McDevitt said Sauer stopped moving when he pulled the gun out. When asked by detectives why he had pointed the weapon at Sauer’s center mass, McDevitt allegedly explained, “he knew not to shoot to wound.”

McDevitt was reportedly roughly 25 feet from Sauer and could see that his hands were empty and that he was not coming towards him at that time, according to the affidavit.

“Without either party saying a word McDevitt fired a round at Sauer,” the affidavit said. “McDevitt advised that he emptied his gun, firing 16 rounds at Sauer,” according to the affidavit.

McDevitt reportedly fired every bullet he had and was concerned about not hitting the woman because “that would be an extra charge,” the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, McDevitt told detectives he made no effort to assist Sauer; instead, he walked past him and into the house to look for his boots, ultimately leaving the residence empty-handed several minutes later when the people at the residence became “hostile towards him.”

McDevitt reportedly said he drove directly to the Belfast Police Department to report the incident.

An autopsy performed by Maine Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Flomenbaum indicated that Sauer had been shot seven times including three shots to the head, which caused his death.

Justice Robert Murray has been assigned to hear the case in the Waldo County Superior Court Unified Criminal Docket.


Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com