Probe into shooting by police continues

Posted July 09, 2010, at 10:18 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:54 a.m.

CYR PLANTATION, Maine — Officials with the state Attorney General’s Office speculated Friday that it likely will be another two weeks before completion of an investigation to determine whether the April shooting of a Cyr Plantation man by law enforcement officers was justified.

Neil Begin, 55, was shot during an encounter with a Maine State Police trooper and U.S. Border Patrol agents on April 23 at his home on U.S. Route 1. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The Attorney General’s Office immediately launched an official investigation into the incident. The office handles all cases involving police use of deadly force.

Kate Simmons, spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said Friday that the investigation is nearing its completion and that an official report should be issued in approximately two weeks.

Maine State Police Trooper Robert Flynn of the Houlton barracks and two U.S. Border Patrol agents visited Begin’s residence on the day of the shooting as part of an investigation into a domestic complaint of threatening behavior with a firearm. The visit resulted in an armed encounter with Begin, and Begin was shot, according to police.

Begin was taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou and then to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he was pronounced dead early the next morning after undergoing surgery.

The Attorney General’s Office has refused to elaborate on the complaint or the actions that led up to the shooting, saying the details are part of the ongoing confidential investigation.

Officials also have refused to say whether it was a Border Patrol officer or Flynn who shot Begin.

Flynn was placed on administrative leave with pay after the incident, which is standard procedure after any shooting involving an officer, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland has said.

Michelle Benson, public affairs specialist for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Houlton, has said she cannot identify the agents or give any details about their involvement in the shooting.

A criminal history record check through the State Bureau of Identification indicated that Begin was charged by a state trooper with one count of unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs in February 1988. It is not clear what sort of drug was involved.

Begin pleaded guilty in August 1988 to the misdemeanor in Madawaska District Court and was sentenced to six months in jail with all but 20 days suspended and probation for one year.

It is not known whether Begin had any other interactions with state police or whether they had been called to his home before.

Two investigators with the state Attorney General’s Office and 10 state police detectives and troopers were involved in gathering evidence at Begin’s home after the shooting.

Such investigations into police use of deadly force customarily take two to three months, according to Simmons.

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