BANGOR, Maine — A man is dead after he got into a group fight on First Street early Tuesday morning that involved a stabbing, according to police.
Police arrived at the scene of the fight at about 1:45 a.m. They used yellow police tape to cordon off the area between Cedar and Barker streets to collect evidence and several police markers could be seen on the street in front of two apartment buildings at 69 and 71 First St., most likely indicating where blood was found.
Bangor police Lt. Tom Regan confirmed early Tuesday that the incident involved a stabbing, but police were otherwise tight-lipped about the incident.
“When officers arrived, we did in fact locate one male who was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center’s emergency room who was later pronounced dead,” Sgt. Paul Edwards, the department’s blood spatter expert, said a few hours after the incident was reported. “Right now we have the criminal investigations division here interviewing, we have our evidence response team collecting evidence and we’re just shutting down First Street for an undetermined amount of time until we can finish that.”
He and a half-dozen other investigators could be seen collecting evidence and talking with people in the area between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Police Chief Ron Gastia, Lt. Tim Reid, who leads the department’s criminal investigation division, and other police officials had a meeting in the cordoned-off street at about 8 a.m.
“We’re not releasing any names yet,” Reid said. “We’ll have something before the day’s over.”
The roadway reopened to traffic just after noon, even though the evidence response vehicle and detectives remained at the scene.
A woman who lives next door to the apartment buildings said she heard fighting out on the street “all night long” but didn’t get up until she heard police officers arrive and start talking about someone who might be mortally wounded.
“They had people cuffed up — four or five of them — at the front of the building and there was a girl hiding in the bushes,” said Klarissa Nye, who along with her two young children moved to First Street in the fall. “I saw them take this girl — she had short pink hair and was fighting with them — and put her in the back of the cruiser.”
No one had been arrested by 8 a.m., according to Reid.
“It’s under investigation,” the lieutenant said.
The suspicious death was not the first to occur on the street in recent years. The body of Christine Simonin, 43, was found in March 2007 dumped a block from the First Street apartment she shared with Ashton Moores.
Moores, then 61, was convicted of raping and killing her at their home. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and a 20-year concurrent sentence for the rape.
On June 24, 2003, Walter Travis, then 26, stabbed and killed Thomas Forni, a friend of his father’s who lived on First Street. Forni died of multiple stab wounds, including a severe laceration of the neck. Travis killed him just after assaulting his teenage brother, James Travis, with a baseball bat at his apartment one block away on Cedar Street.
He was committed to Riverview Psychiatric Center, formerly the Augusta Mental Health Institute, after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder but not responsible for the crimes due to mental illness.
Dana Spencer, Nye’s landlord, said he and his brother have owned the apartment building for 34 years and have watched the area degrade over the decades. He approached Officer Jim Dearing on Tuesday morning and asked if police could remove the hypodermic needles in his front yard that he said drug addicts had carelessly discarded there. Dearing said the needles would be taken as evidence.
“It used to be a nice, quiet neighborhood when I moved in,” Spencer said. “It’s getting bad up here. We’ve had three or four murders since I’ve been here.”
Another neighbor, who lives across the street and asked to be identified only by his first name, Adam, said he often sees people hanging out in front of the apartments in question drinking and openly doing drugs.
Nye said she wants to move but can’t afford to at this point in her life.
“It’s just a really bad area,” she said. “Everybody is on [the synthetic drug] bath salts. I’ve walked out of my house and found needles. It’s really sad.”
No matter whether the people in the fight were drinking and doing illegal drugs, “nobody deserves that,” Nye said. “It’s really unfortunate.”
Spencer took the opportunity to warn people to be cautious when on First Street, which stretches for three blocks between Union Street and Davis Street.
“Watch your back,” the landlord said. “Don’t go out alone at night — go with with a friend.”
Check bangordailynews.com for more updates throughout the day.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect address for the stabbing that occurred on First Street. The stabbing occurred in front of two apartment buildings at 69 and 71 First St., not 67 and 71 First Street.