In this April 14, 2020, file photo, Maine State Police vehicles lined up by the corner of Bodwell and Bosworth streets where Thomas Powell died in an armed confrontation with police. Credit: Nina Mahaleris / BDN

Maine’s attorney general has found a Maine detective and state trooper were justified when they fatally shot an Old Town man during an armed confrontation in 2020

Maine State Police Detective Scott Duff and Trooper Garret Booth fatally shot Thomas Powell of Old Town on April 14, 2020, after he fired at police and refused to drop his weapon, according to Attorney General Aaron Frey’s review of the case.

The previous day, Powell was identified as a suspect in a burglary and car theft. Powell’s mother allegedly told police her son’s mental health was deteriorating and “the only way you can take him is if you kill him,” according to the report Frey’s office released Friday. 

A neighbor then called police to report hearing gunshots from an apartment building on Bodwell Street in Old Town where Powell was staying with his mother. When police arrived, Powell had barricaded himself inside and ignored repeated police commands to come out of the building. A warrant for his arrest was issued. 

After police were stationed around the building, Powell stepped out of the home and fired at a pair of officers. No police were injured in the confrontation. 

After stepping out of the building for a second time holding a gun and again ignoring police commands to drop his weapon, Duff and Booth fired at him. 

Powell died at the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found Powell died from three gunshot wounds. 

Frey wrote that Duff and Booth knew Powell had fired at other officers as well as surrounding homes, placing residents at risk. At the time of the shooting, Frey said Powell also appeared to be scanning the area for additional targets while ignoring repeated commands to put his weapon down. 

“His conduct continued to pose an imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury to the other officers and the residents in the densely populated neighborhood,” Frey wrote. “All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that the officers acted in self-defense and in the defense of others.” 

The Maine attorney general’s office reviews every case involving police use of deadly force to determine if the officer was justified. The office has never found an officer unjustified.

The attorney general’s office on Friday also determined Sgt. Kevin Conger and Officer Peter Theriault of the Falmouth Police Department were justified in fatally shooting Daniel DiMillo of Falmouth in October 2021. 

Conger and Theriault responded to a call about DiMillo wielding a knife and running in circles at the intersection of Lunt Road and Middle Road in Falmouth. When the officers arrived, DiMillo reportedly ran at them while holding the knife. 

Conger deployed his taser, which appeared to have no effect, according to Frey’s report. DiMillo continued advancing toward officers while ignoring commands to drop the knife. 

Both officers fired at DiMillo and he died at the scene. An examination of DiMillo’s body found he had been shot seven times, including one shot to the head. 

Frey determined Conger and Theriault acted in self-defense and the defense of others.

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...