SEARSMONT, Maine — The armed man who was shot on June 8 by a Belfast policeman is an Iraq War veteran who was arrested Wednesday night in connection with the Belfast incident.
Benjamin L. Thompson, 27, of Swanville was arrested at about 10:30 p.m. by two law enforcement officers from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department and one Maine State Police trooper at a residence on Route 3 in Searsmont.
Thompson was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, the threatening display of a weapon, having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants with one prior conviction and failure to stop for a police officer.
The three police officials went together to make the arrest because of Thompson’s history, said Chief Deputy Robert Keating of the sheriff’s office. However, Thompson cooperated with police and was taken to the Waldo County Jail without incident.
That is very different from the scene described by law enforcement agents that occurred on June 8. On that night, Thompson reportedly drove through Searsport with a noisy exhaust pipe and also with a plate light out. When a Searsport officer moved to pull him over, Thompson did not stop but kept driving into Belfast.
Officer Dan Fitzpatrick of the Belfast Police Department had continued the effort to pull Thompson over, and the driver did stop at about midnight at the intersection of Route 141 and Smart Road in Belfast.
That’s when he came out of his car with a shotgun in his hand and refused to put it down when ordered to do so by police.
Fitzpatrick ultimately shot Thompson, who was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment. His condition had been upgraded to stable after a week.
Chief Jeff Trafton of the Belfast Police Department said Thursday that Thompson was a U.S. Marine who had served in Iraq.
Although the chief said he had not yet received a report from the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the agency that investigates the use of deadly force by law enforcement officials, Fitzpatrick has completed all the administrative requirements necessitated by the shooting and will return to work Saturday.
“He followed his training to a T,” Trafton said.
Thompson’s bail was set at $5,000 cash or $10,000 single surety, a jail official said Thursday. He has been released on cash bail and is scheduled to appear at Waldo County Superior Court on Thursday, July 28.
According to Trafton, Thompson likely knew that the charges were pending.
“It probably wasn’t a surprise,” he said, adding, “we’re all very glad he survived the incident.”