Police: Victim in Westbrook murder-suicide was ambushed, had saved a life just days before

Posted Dec. 02, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.

WESTBROOK, Maine — Less than a week before police say he was likely ambushed and killed by an ex-boyfriend as he returned home from work, Westbrook native Matthew Rairdon saved a woman’s life.

On Monday, Maine State Police released additional details about what investigators are calling a domestic violence murder-suicide that took place at Rairdon’s Main Street apartment just after midnight Saturday morning.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Monday afternoon that 30-year-old Patrick Milliner, who allegedly shot Rairdon twice before turning the gun on himself, left “a long, rambling post on Facebook and also a written note” to the victim in the apartment.

McCausland said police on Monday were at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro interviewing corrections officers who were part of a class attended by Milliner. Police have said Rairdon and Milliner were former lovers whose relationship ended recently.

“Investigators say both bodies were found inside the entryway to Rairdon’s apartment and it appears that Milliner, who was dressed in black winter clothing, likely ambushed Rairdon as he was opening the door to his apartment,” said McCausland in a Monday news release.

Mark Belserene, administrator for the state medical examiner’s office, confirmed to the Bangor Daily News on Monday morning that Rairdon died of gunshot wounds to the head and chest and that Milliner died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police said Milliner acquired the murder weapon, a .40 caliber Glock handgun, from the retailer Cabela’s just hours before the crime on Friday, and that investigators are speaking with representatives of the store on Monday as well.

Just two days before the shooting, Rairdon, who had recently begun work as an emergency room nurse at Mercy Hospital in Portland, was credited with saving a woman’s life.

Greg Brooks of Gorham told the Bangor Daily News on Monday that his 91-year-old mother-in-law was transported to the emergency room late last week after a medical episode in her home.

“I was in the room by myself with her when she flatlined, and I ran out for help,” Brooks recalled. “Matt was just outside the room — I screamed to him. I said, ‘She just died.’ … He came running right in there and got right on her and started doing CPR. The doctors came afterward, but by the time they came in, she was showing signs of life again. He saved her life.”

Brooks said his mother-in-law is now recovering. He said in addition to knowing what to do medically, Rairdon had a special touch dealing with patients and their families.

“I didn’t know him at the time, but he made me feel as comfortable as anyone I’ve ever met. … I thank the Lord that he was there that day, because it may have been different [if he wasn't],” Brooks said. “He had a fantastic life ahead of him, for sure, and for it to be wasted like that is just crazy. It’s hard to fathom.”

Jonathan Ross, principal at Westbrook High School, from which Rairdon graduated in 2009, said Monday it was “a difficult day for our school.”

Rairdon was the third oldest of seven siblings — one of whom is a current student at the high school — and the family is well-known throughout the city, teacher Jennifer Willette said. Rairdon’s father, Gary, won a seat on the Westbrook City Council in November.

Willette, a science teacher at the high school, had Rairdon in her home room for four years.

“He was a kid with a contagious smile, and very funny when he wanted to be,” she said. “He was a sweet kid, he was quiet in class, he did everything you needed him to do. He was polite, he was very caring, and he was involved in a lot of things.”

Willette said Rairdon is remembered as a talented actor in school’s drama program, and that he also served in the Key Club and participated in the jazz ensemble.

“This has hit us all really hard,” she said. “It’s a really great family, and for all of us, that’s the heart-wrenching piece. It’s the family next door that loves their kids. It’s heart-wrenching to see it happen.”

According to his Facebook page, Milliner was a California native who moved to Maine from Colorado about five months ago and aspired to become a police officer. Police listed South Portland as his place of residence at the time of the alleged murder-suicide.

Milliner’s Facebook page showed him as an avid flag football player who quickly took to life in Maine, attending the Old Port Festival and picking wild blueberries during the summer months. Milliner wrote that he visited Maine for the first time in 2009, when he worked on the campaign to protect legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

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