POLICE BEAT

Man shot by Belfast police arrested again after brief manhunt

Posted Feb. 06, 2012, at 1:59 p.m.
Benjamin Thompson
Waldo County Jail
Benjamin Thompson

BELFAST, Maine — The man who was shot by Belfast police last summer at a traffic stop was arrested again this weekend after a brief manhunt in the woods that ended peacefully.

Benjamin Thompson, 27, of Belfast, reportedly was visiting a residence at the Piper Stream Mobile Home Park on Saturday night when police responded to a loud music complaint there, according to Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden.

Officers arriving at the home noticed a man who ran out the back door and into the woods. They learned who he was from one of the occupants of the home, realized that he was subject to bail conditions and called for a police dog to help look for him, McFadden said Monday.

However, before the dog arrived, an officer located Thompson walking out of the woods and onto Route 52. Sgt. John Gibbs spoke with Thompson, who said that he had consumed a small amount of alcohol, which did violate his bail conditions. Thompson’s blood tested at .02 percent alcohol, and police arrested him.

They also searched his own trailer, which is allowed under another condition of his release, and found drug paraphernalia inside, including straws with powder residue, pills and other items of contraband, according to McFadden.

He was charged with violating conditions of release and issued a summons for the sale and use of drug paraphernalia.

Last June, Thompson had engaged in a car chase with police after a Searsport officer tried to pull him over for a noisy exhaust pipe.

Thompson didn’t stop, and continued into Belfast, where Officer Dan Fitzpatrick of the Belfast Police Department ultimately pulled his car over about midnight at the intersection of Route 141 and Smart Road in Belfast.

When Thompson emerged from his vehicle, he allegedly did so holding a loaded shotgun in his hands. He refused to put the weapon down when Fitzpatrick ordered him to do so, police said later. The officer then shot Thompson.

Residents who live nearby told the BDN that they had heard four or five shots fired that night.

“The wife and I were getting ready for bed. I thought I heard five shots fired. There were lots of police,” said a resident who 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.’”

Thompson was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment and initially was listed in critical condition there.

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating the shooting of Thompson, an Iraq War veteran. In 2010 there were five police-involved shootings in Maine and in 2009 there were four, according to Brenda Kielty, a special assistant at the Attorney General’s Office.

The Waldo County Grand Jury indicted Thompson in August on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, threatening display of a weapon, having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, criminal operating of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants and failure to stop for a police officer. He is awaiting trial on those charges.

A Waldo County Jail official said Monday afternoon that Thompson was still in custody on the most recent charge.

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