Augusta, ME – Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey announced Monday that his office had determined that four law enforcement officers were justified in using deadly force in two separate shooting incidents.
The first fatal shooting occurred at about 8:30 a.m. on April 14, 2020 when 31-year-old Thomas A. Powell III fired shots at officers using a rifle with a scope when they tried to arrest him at his home on Bodwell Street on French Island, the Press Herald reported.
Two members of the Maine State Police’s (MSP) tactical team returned fire and Powell was shot.
MSP Trooper Garret Booth and MSP Detective Scott Duff were placed on paid administrative leave while the officer-involved shooting was investigated, the Press Herald reported.
The second shooting occurred at about 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2021 in Falmouth when officers responded to a report of a man running around in circles with a knife, WMTW reported.
Investigators said 51-year-old Daniel DiMillo came out of the woods when officers arrived on the scene, WMTW reported.
Police said DiMillo got in a “crouched fighting stance” before running at Falmouth Police Sergeant Kevin Conger with the knife in his hand.
Falmouth Police Officer Peter Theriault ordered DiMillo to drop the knife multiple times, WMTW reported.
DiMillo ignored commands and ran straight for Sgt. Conger.
Sgt. Conger deployed his Taser but it had no effect on the suspect, according to WMTW.
The report from the Maine Attorney General’s Office said that when the sergeant went to back away from DiMillo, he tripped over something, fell against a vehicle, and landed on his back.
DiMillo made a move toward the downed sergeant and Officer Theriault opened fire, WMTW reported.
Sgt. Conger was able to get up from the ground as Officer Theriault continued to order the suspect to drop the knife.
Officials said that DiMillo ignored officers’ commands and lunged at Sgt. Conger again, prompting the sergeant and Officer Theriault to shoot him, WMTW reported.
DiMillo was pronounced dead at the scene.
A witness told police that the officers had no other choice than to shoot the armed man, WMTW reported.
“If they had not shot him, he was going to stab them,” the witness said. “Without question. You could see in his eyes he was going for them.”
Maine law permits police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others from an imminent threat.
Frey wrote in his decision for both cases that the troopers and officers who discharged their weapons were acting in self-defense, or the defense of others, and were justified when they killed the armed suspects.