A Fort Fairfield man with active warrants was arrested Wednesday morning after leading police on a chase through several Aroostook County towns and firing a handgun in the direction of officers.

Officials said Officer Douglas Bell attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Main Street in Caribou around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday for a motor vehicle violation.

The driver of the vehicle and sole occupant was later identified as Paul Cote II. He had three active warrants with a suspended driver’s license. Police said he was out on bail conditions.

Caribou Police Department
Caribou Police Department
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Cote did not stop. He continued up Fort Street and ran a red light at the intersection of Route 1. Cote was pursued by officers to Presque isle and to Fort Fairfield, according to Caribou Police Chief Michael Gahagan.

In Fort Fairfield, Chief Matthew Cummings took over as the primary officer in the pursuit. Chief Cummings maintained a safe distance in the chase as Cote was operating at reckless speeds.

Cote continued about 36 miles into Caribou, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield and Limestone. He then traveled back to Caribou on Route 89. 

Officer Kevin St. Peter put out a spike mat at the Otter Street and Access Highway intersection. All four tires on the silver Buick deflated. The vehicle was disabled and crashed into the trees at the Connector Highway.

Gahagan said Cote took off on foot. He fired “multiple shots from a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun in the direction of Chief Cummings, who was primary in the pursuit, and Officer Bell.” Cote surrendered to police in the woods a short time later.

Cote was taken to Cary Medical Center for minor injuries. He was transported to the Aroostook County Jail and charged with “Reckless Conduct with a Firearm, Criminal Threatening with a Dangerous Weapon Eluding, Passing a Police Roadblock, Driving to Endanger, Speeding 30+mph Over Posted Speed Limit, Operating After Suspension and Violation of Conditions of Release.” He will appear in court on February 3, 2022 with bail set at $50,000 cash or $125,000 surety.

No officers were injured and no police vehicles were damaged.

Cote’s three active warrants included “a felony warrant for eluding Officer Bell back on October 6, 2021, charges from that incident include Eluding Police, Driving to Endanger, Operating After Suspension and Violation of Bail Conditions.”

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Multiple officers and agencies were involved including Officer Bell, Officer St. Peter, Officer Hunter Flynn, Fort Fairfield Police Department, Chief Cummings, Limestone Police, Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, US Border Patrol, Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service and Caribou Fire and Ambulance.

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