By Ann S. Kim email@example.com
PORTLAND — It was late afternoon when U.S. marshals first saw Arien L’Italien in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood — not a good time of day to close in on a wanted man in a densely populated area.
They made their move an hour later, as L’Italien and another man walked uphill on Mellen Street.
Members of the Violent Offender Task Force closed in on the men and announced themselves as police. L’Italien turned with a look of surprise, John Gill, a Scarborough police officer assigned to the task force, said at L’Italien’s sentencing hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Gill saw a cone of light coming from L’Italien’s hand and realized L’Italien had fired a gun in his direction. For a moment, Gill said, he thought he had been shot. He dove onto the sidewalk and fired his weapon.
There was more gunfire, shouted arrest commands and the realization that L’Italien had been shot. Gill moved in to handcuff L’Italien.
On Tuesday, District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced L’Italien to 18 years and four months in prison and five years of probation for his role in the Jan. 27 shootout.
L’Italien, 23, of Biddeford, pleaded guilty in March to assault on a federal officer, being a felon in possession of a