Autopsy uncertain in County shooting

Posted April 26, 2010, at 4:17 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:30 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The state medical examiner’s office said Monday that an autopsy on the victim of a police shooting in Aroostook County was inconclusive.

A spokeswoman said Monday’s autopsy failed to determine conclusively the cause of death of 55-year-old Neil Begin, who was shot Friday afternoon during an encounter with a Maine State Police trooper and a U.S. Border Patrol agent at Begin’s mobile home on Route 1 in Cyr Plantation. Begin was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.

Officials with the state Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Border Patrol said Monday they will not release any more details surrounding the shooting until the official investigation is complete.

Kate Simmons, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said state law mandates that details of the investigation remain confidential.

“Because of that, we can’t give out any further details about this case,” she said Monday afternoon.

On Saturday, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Begin was shot during an encounter with Maine State Police Trooper Robert Flynn of the Houlton barracks and an unidentified U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Michelle Benson, public affairs specialist for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Houlton, said Monday that she couldn’t identify the agent or give any details about the agent’s involvement in the shooting.

“We are not able to disclose any information at this time,” said Benson. “It is our policy that we don’t release the name of the agent. We also cannot comment on this incident.”

Both Simmons and Benson declined to speak about why the officers were called to Begin’s home before the shooting or talk about any actions that led up to the shooting.

When asked whether the Attorney General’s Office knows which officer fired the shot at Begin, Simmons said that “details such as who fired the weapon are all part of the investigation” which will remain confidential until a full report on the matter is released in two or three months.

Begin was taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou, then flown to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he underwent emergency surgery Friday night. He died from his injuries at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Flynn has been placed on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure after any shooting involving an officer, McCausland said.

McCausland also said Monday that the Department of Public Safety would not be releasing any further details about the case. He referred questions to Simmons.

Two investigators with the state Attorney General’s Office and 10 state police detectives and troopers were in Cyr Plantation after the incident to investigate.

The Attorney General’s Office handles all cases involving police use of deadly force.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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