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I am writing in regard to the recent articles in the Bangor Daily News and News Center Maine regarding the tragic events of June 21, 2022, that resulted in the police shooting and death of my son Peter Pfister. I fully expected the attorney general’s decision to rule the shooting was justified. Unfortunately, there was a significant factual error in the reporting that I feel obligated to correct.
The original decision from the attorney general’s office and the article from News Center Maine stated that the blood tests performed identified the presence of barbiturates, cannabinoids and gabapentin. This is false. Those tests were performed but were negative. I know this because I have a copy of the autopsy report and through recent communication with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. That information was used in the News Center Maine article to imply Peter had an illegal prescription drug problem and, as an extension, any reader might conclude the hallucinations and delusions on that tragic day were drug induced. This is simply not true.
Peter had an acute paranoid psychotic episode with hallucinations and delusions of the type seen with schizophrenia. This was a sudden, dramatic change. I cannot begin to describe how crazy and out of character his actions were that day compared to who Peter was in daily life. In retrospect, I can identify elements of paranoia appearing in his behavior in the days prior to the shooting.
Schizophrenia is a devastating disease to the individual and his family. It often presents suddenly in men between the ages of 15 and 30 with the acute onset of delusions and hallucinations. The incidence is reported to be 1 percent to 3 percent. May Peter rest in peace.
Stephen Pfister, M.D.