STOUGHTON — A retired Avon police officer who owned 43 registered firearms was arrested after a night of erratic behavior that culminated at a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot in Avon, where he tried to hit a State Police trooper with his pickup truck, authorities said.
The trooper, who was on foot, attempted to back up as the truck driven by Gene Guilbault sped toward him Wednesday night at about 10:15. The trooper fired at the vehicle, hitting Guilbault in the leg, authorities said.
An errant bullet narrowly missed hitting a trucker sitting inside his parked truck a short distance away and tore a hole in the cabin. It was unclear who fired the shot, but no firearm was found in Guilbault’s truck.
Guilbault, 48, of Bridgewater, was taken into custody and charged Thursday in Stoughton District Court with assault and battery on a police officer, assault to murder, and other charges. He was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
Before ending up at the parking lot on Page Street, Guilbault had threatened to commit suicide after arguing with his wife, placing the end of a shotgun in his mouth in front of her, while the couple’s 13-year-old daughter was in the house, prosecutors said.
Sherry Guilbault found her husband in a bedroom closet, coiled into a fetal position, according to a police record.
They argued; then he grabbed the shotgun and placed the end in his mouth. She wrestled the weapon away, threw it aside, and fled outside with their daughter.
Sherry Guilbault filed a restraining order against her husband early Thursday, recounting the incident inside their home.
“I left him . . . and went downstairs, got my daughter and our two dogs, and went to a friend’s house, as I was in fear of what he would do next,” she said in the report.
She said she did not call police right away because her husband had said he would not be taken alive, and she feared for the safety of other officers.
After his wife and daughter left the house, Gene Guilbault took a handgun from his collection and called his brother, Charles Guilbault, an Avon police officer, and said he wanted to meet with him. Charles Guilbaut told his brother to leave the handgun at their mother’s house. Guilbault complied, and the two agreed to meet at the Dunkin’ Donuts, according to the report.
Charles Guilbault, who was on duty, called for backup en route, saying that his brother “is a gun nut and something is up and . . . I am nervous.” He told several State Police troopers and Avon police officers to leave the parking lot, because he was not sure how his brother would react.
Guilbault arrived and walked over to his brother. As the two talked, Guilbault became agitated and started pacing around his truck. When Guilbault hopped into the driver’s seat, the police officers who had been observing at a distance, converged.
Guilbault pressed on the gas, accelerating toward a trooper, who fired, then Guilbault rammed into a police cruiser. The truck stopped, and Guilbault was arrested.
Police recovered 38 weapons and several thousand rounds of ammunition, according to court records.
Jacqueline Modiste, Guilbault’s attorney, said her client, who had worked as a correction officer in the Norfolk County sheriff’s office in addition to being a police officer, was simply trying to leave the parking lot when he was shot in the leg and lost control of his truck. She pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
Guilbault’s sister Jean Rolt, who attended the arraignment, said during an interview later at her house, that her brother was never the same after responding several years ago to an accident in which a car hit a small child.
As an Avon police officer, Guilbault was first on the scene, she said, and held a small child with severe head trauma in his hands as the child died.
“That changed my brother,” she said. “He could no longer function at work, and he suffered from PTSD.”
Guilbault retired in 2006, with 14 years on the job.
Rolt said her brother worked for a trucking company, did sheet-rock jobs and some electrical work, but “he never really got back on track.”
He also took the death of their father hard, she said.
Eugene Guilbault died in June 2011, after battling cancer. He had worked for the Avon Fire Department for more than 20 years and was a long-serving member of the town’s conservation and water commissions.
“Our father’s death left him devastated,” she said. “It took a huge toll on him.”
Guilbault ran into financial trouble and had problems with his marriage, she said. She said her brother was seeing a doctor to help him deal with his PTSD and panic attacks, and was on medication.
Collecting firearms was a longtime hobby, she said.Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBallou.