Grindstone man shot by police died of neck, chest wound

Police told neighbors that Robert Bellfleur, 78, was shot by police as he stood in the doorway of his Frazier Road home in Grindstone late Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Police told neighbors that Robert Bellfleur, 78, was shot by police as he stood in the doorway of his Frazier Road home in Grindstone late Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 19, 2013, at 5:09 p.m.

GRINDSTONE, Maine — The 78-year-old Grindstone man involved in an armed confrontation with police late Saturday died from a gunshot wound to the neck and chest, an autopsy conducted Monday revealed.

The death of Robert Bellfleur, 78, was ruled a homicide. The brief report generated from the autopsy does not say how many times Bellfleur was shot or whether he was intoxicated, said Mark Belserene, administrator of the chief medical examiner’s office.

“We will run the toxicology testing [to determine whether Bellfleur was intoxicated] but it will take at least a couple of weeks before we get that back,” Belserene said Monday.

Bellfleur, who was armed with a shotgun, was shot by East Millinocket police Officer Seth Burnes after Burnes responded to a neighbor’s 911 call at about 8:40 p.m. The neighbors reported that Bellfleur was harassing them, Tim Feeley, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said Sunday.

Feeney declined to discuss the incident on Monday, saying his office’s investigation is ongoing. The attorney general’s office investigates shootings involving police.

Three officers went to the scene — Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy Patricia McLaughlin, part-time East Millinocket police Officer Brad Fitzgerald and Burnes, said Brian MacMaster, head of investigation for the attorney general’s office.

The neighbors said that Bellfleur appeared to be intoxicated and began the incident by appearing at their vacation home at dusk, nonsensically demanding that they leave.

After police arrived, Bellfleur went to his own residence at the dead end of Frazier Road, about 400 feet from the neighbors’ home, and “retrieved a shotgun and engaged in an armed confrontation with the officers,” Feeley said Sunday.

The neighbors said they heard a single shot followed by several minutes of silence during which the officers positioned their cars so that lights shined on Bellfleur’s house.

Neighbors said they then heard three shots fired in rapid succession, and police told them later that Bellfleur was shot as he stood in his doorway or on his front porch holding what appeared to be a long rifle.

Police told them that he then fell or moved back through the doorway, the neighbors said.

Bellfleur died at the scene, Feeley said. The neighbors said that several hours passed between the shooting and Bellfleur being found inside his home.

It could not be determined Monday whether Burnes was placed on administrative or nondisciplinary leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. East Millinocket Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley and Police Chief Cameron McDunnah did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/08/19/news/penobscot/grindstone-man-shot-by-police-died-of-neck-chest-wound/ printed on September 19, 2014