May 24, 2018
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Swanville man shot after allegedly pulling shotgun on police

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine — On Thursday morning a bloodstain was evident on the pavement on Smart Road where police shot an armed 26-year-old Swanville man the night before.

Police had tried to pull over Benjamin Thompson in neighboring Searsport for an undisclosed reason, but he reportedly kept driving. When he finally did stop at about midnight near the intersection of Route 141 and Smart Road in Belfast, Thompson stepped out of his car with a shotgun in hand, according to the Belfast Police Department. Although police from Searsport and Belfast demanded he put the gun down, Thompson allegedly did not comply. Belfast police Officer Dan Fitzpatrick then shot the man.

Residents who live nearby said they heard four or five shots fired.

Thompson was in critical condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Thursday evening, according to the hospital.

“The wife and I were getting ready for bed. I thought I heard five shots fired. There were lots of police,” said a resident lives about 300 feet from where blood stained the road. “I heard someone yell, ‘I’m shot.’ It was so loud. Then he said, ‘Shoot me — I don’t want to live anymore.’”

The resident, an older man who did not want to be identified, was dressed in a thick, blue flannel bathrobe Thursday morning as he explained how it has always been quiet in his area of Belfast.

“It makes me nervous,” he said.

The area near the shooting is sparsely populated and dense in vegetation. The only other house nearby is owned by Barbara Chalmers.

Chalmers was sleeping around midnight Wednesday when she heard four loud bangs. “Are those gunshots?” she remembered thinking as she woke up.

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating the shooting. Brenda Kielty, a special assistant at the AG’s office, would not say if any criminal charges are pending against Thompson.

Kielty said this is the fourth shooting involving Maine police this year. In 2010 there were five police-involved shootings and in 2009 there were four.

Aside from one conviction for operating under the influence in 2005, Thompson has no criminal record.

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