Shooting victim’s family deals with mystery of motive

Matthew Gwyer

There is still no known motive for why a Scarborough teenager broke into the home of the Glidden family in mid-January and ended up shooting husband, father and local business owner Bruce Glidden.

At a hearing last week, though, Matthew Gwyer, now 18, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a felony, in the Jan. 18 incident, which sent Glidden to the hospital with several gunshot wounds. He has since recovered.

Under the deferred sentencing agreement reached with prosecutors, at the age of 21, Gwyer can withdraw his plea and enter one for simple assault, a misdemeanor, if he complies with all of the conditions set by the court.

Those conditions include participating in intensive personal and group therapy designed to work through the issues that caused him to take the actions he did.

Speaking to the media for the first time, Amy Glidden, Bruce Glidden’s wife, said, “We have been told many times over the course of these past six months, by not only the detectives, but also the district attorneys, that we may never know why Matthew Gwyer targeted our family because he himself doesn’t know.”

She said, “In many meetings with law enforcement and the (district attorney’s) office, we were continually told there is no evidence of a motive, but given the false narrative some wanted to create, it helps to have the validation of those closest to the case.”

Glidden added, “Our friends and acquaintances in Scarborough and beyond have been incredibly important in helping us deal with this terrible experience, but it has also been hurtful to hear of all the unfounded speculation, innuendo and rumor from some members of this community.

“This was not just directed at our family, but also to the Gwyers and it is heartless, disrespectful and irresponsible. I ask those people to try to have a little bit of empathy for everyone involved. It feels very disheartening to have to defend my family when we are the victims here.”

Glidden said she’s convinced that Gwyer truly doesn’t know why he broke into their Ash Swamp Road home and shot her husband, who had fallen asleep on the couch while watching television.

She called not knowing Gwyer’s motive “terrifying.”

“We can only hope and pray that the required intensive therapy he will have at Long Creek will help him with what has been described to us as significant mental illness,” she said.

She also said that Gwyer’s attorney, Edwin Chester, indicated to the family at the July 14 hearing that “the reason Matthew was not speaking to us in court is because he doesn’t even know why he acted so horrifically.”

Glidden said, “District attorneys Christine Thibeault and Michelle McCullock worked tirelessly to get the best possible outcome for our family given the limitations of the criminal justice system and (Gwyer’s) juvenile status at the time of the crime

“The safety net of the aggravated assault (plea) forces this individual to prove that he has taken advantage of the rehabilitative nature of the juvenile justice system. No outcome would have made us feel as safe as we did before Jan. 18, so we will have to hope and pray that he can turn his life around.”

Glidden also thanked Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton for his “thoughtful leadership (throughout) and the work that the Scarborough police did to find the person who committed this crime. We feel lucky to live in such a wonderfully supportive community.”

In addition, Glidden told the Current that her family has “always wanted to deal with this (incident) privately and have avoided the media every step of the way” because of that desire for privacy.

However, she “reluctantly agreed to speak (to the Current) because of the unwarranted speculation around the motive” for Gwyer’s crime.

Chester said this week that Gwyer “needs to parse out his motive,” calling him “a model adolescent who did something pretty awful. This is a very unique case. Here’s what appears to be a model kid who for a six to seven day period (last winter) fell apart.”

Overall, he said, Gwyer was “a great student, employee, neighbor and church member, who is really a helping and generous person” normally.

Moulton said this week he’s proud of the work his department did on the case and said he has faith that the court did the right thing in balancing holding Gwyer responsible while also leaving “the door open for redemption.”

Matthew Gwyer