DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher shot and killed a maintenance man at a nursing facility Tuesday morning, then drove his truck to the nearby fairgrounds, where he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.
Michael Curtis, 46, shot and killed maintenance worker Udo Schneider, 53, at around 9:30 a.m. outside Hilltop Manor, where Schneider had worked for more than a decade, Lt. Col. Raymond Bessette of the Maine State Police said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
After shooting Schneider, Curtis drove his white pickup truck to the nearby Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds. He was tracked there by police, who surrounded the grounds.
“Curtis was subsequently located at the county fairgrounds, where a standoff occurred between Curtis and police,” said Bessette. “Curtis was subsequently shot and killed by Maine State Trooper Jon Brown.”
Shots were reported fired at the fairgrounds at 9:48 a.m.
Curtis later died at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, said Bessette.
Brown, who has been with the state police for four years, was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure, Bessette said.
Both men killed Tuesday lived in Sangerville. Schneider was married for 16 years to Curtis’ current wife and had two children with her, according to divorce records printed in the BDN.
Exactly what sparked Tuesday’s violence is still not known, Bessette said.
“We do believe the victim and the shooter knew each other,” said Bessette. “The extent of that relationship will be disclosed in our further investigation, but this was not a random act.”
An eyewitness — a contractor working at Hilltop Manor who didn’t identify himself — told the BDN that the gunman asked to speak to the man he shot.
The contractor, who works for Bowman Constructors of Newport, spoke to reporters in front of Hilltop Manor on Essex Street. He said Curtis pulled out a pistol and shot Schneider in cold blood.
“[Curtis] asked who [Schneider] was and then unloaded on him,” said the eyewitness, who added that two or three others also saw what happened.
Curtis served as the fire department’s deputy chief in 2007, according to BDN archives. He worked as a dispatcher at the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office, said Bessette.
Schneider had worked at the Hilltop Manor for 11 years. He was the director of maintenance at two of the 11 long-term care facilities operated by Davis Long Term Care Group Inc., said Chad Cloutier, chief executive officer of the the Rockland-based company.
“He was a wonderful man. I knew him well,” Cloutier said. “He was a very dedicated employee — one of our finest, hardworking employees we have here.”
Cloutier was sympathetic toward all those involved.
“This is a senseless tragedy which we don’t have any explanation for,” said Cloutier. “My heart goes out to the victim, the victim’s family and all who have been affected by this. It’s a very sad day for all of us. We knew and loved him. He’ll be missed.”
The residents at the 30-bed facility, located at 462 Essex St., were never in danger, Cloutier said.
Cloutier added that grief counselors will be brought in for the residents and staff at the facility.
A team of detectives and the Maine State Police command staff, including the chief, Col. Robert Williams, arrived in Dover-Foxcroft late Tuesday morning to begin the investigation into the shootings, state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said.
Because of the officer involvement in the second shooting, the Maine Attorney General’s Office will investigate that part of the incident, McCausland said.
Autopsies on both men are scheduled at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the Dover-Foxcroft fire chief. His name is Joe Guyotte, not Gerald. Also, Maine State Police Lt. Col. Raymond Bessette, not Bassett, spoke at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.