Update: Additional details about fatal shooting by officer released; family responds

10 mins read
Two Franklin County Sheriff's Department deputies respond to the shooting fatality at the Farmington Municipal Building this morning. Justin Crowley-Smilek, under the blue tarp, was fatally shot by Officer Ryan Rosie after Crowley-Smilek pulled out a knife, according to police .
Police and fire department personnel blocked off access to the Farmington Municipal Building at 153 Farmington Falls Road, following a shooting incident this morning.

[UPDATE 4:30 p.m.] FARMINGTON – Police released more details about the fatal shooting Saturday morning by a police officer after a man reportedly threatened him with a knife in front of the Farmington Municipal Building.

According to police, Justin Crowley-Smilek, 28, of Farmington, rang the bell at the municipal building where the police department is located. Officer Ryan Rosie answered the call and went out the front door as Crowley-Smilek was starting to leave. Rosie asked what he needed, according to Chief Jack Peck.

Crowley-Smilek turned and a verbal exchange took place. “Crowley-Smilek started walking aggressively toward Rosie. Rosie asked him to take his hands out of his pockets,” Peck said. “He (Crowley-Smilek) produced a knife.”

Justin Crowley-Smilek (Photo courtesy of his family)

On his radio, Rosie called to dispatch: “officer needs assistance” and one or more shots were fired. Peck said Rosie isn’t sure how many times he fired. Ten or 20 seconds later, Officer Ted Neil, who had just started his shift at 11 a.m., came running out.

Leon Heckbert, owner of Pro Service automobile repair shop, was adding air to a customer’s tires outside, across the street from municipal building.

“I hear one shot then three more; four shots total,” he said. Looking over at the municipal building he could see an officer standing there. Heckbert ran across Maple Avenue to his old auto repair shop and saw the officer pointing his gun down at something.

“I thought it was an animal or maybe it was training, I didn’t know. Then I saw him lying there. Another officer came out the front door,” he said. Crowley-Smilek “was lying on his belly with his head turned to the left looking down Route 27. There was a blood trail coming from his head area. I said holy s–t,” Heckbert recalled. He added, “you just don’t expect to see that kind of thing here.”

Peck said the state’s Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy and the Criminal Investigation Division, along with the Attorney General’ Office, was on the scene to conduct their investigation. Peck said he will be conducting an internal review of the incident, which he said is standard in a case involving an officer-involved shooting. Officer Rosie has been placed on administrative leave, also a standard procedure.

Crowley-Smilek was well known to some of the more veteran officers on the Farmington department, although Rosie, who joined the force two or three months ago, did not know who Crowley-Smilek was, Peck said. The chief added, “It’s fair to say [Crowley-Smilek] suffered from some mental health issues.”

Family members say Crowley-Smilek was a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder having served as a U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq.  According to his girlfriend, Destiny Cook, in a letter posted here on the main page, Crowley-Smilek “came home and struggled daily with civilian life.” Cook also said, “No matter how hard he tried to fight the demons within him ultimately he lost.”

His father, Michael Smilek said in a comment below, “He is finally at peace, after all the horrors he saw fighting overseas.” And he added, ” I forgive whoever shot my son, and pray that they too will find their peace.”

[UPDATE 2:58 p.m.] –
The man fatally shot by a police officer following a confrontation has been identified this afternoon as Justin Crowley-Smilek, 28, of Farmington.

According to Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck, Crowley-Smilek was shot by Farmington Police  Officer Ryan Rosie in front of the town municipal building, just after 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

Crowley-Smilek’s previous interactions with local law enforcement include a February 2010 incident in which he was arrested at the University of Maine at Farmington’s Dearborn Gymnasium during the North Atlantic Conference Championship basketball game, between UMF and Castleton State College. An off-duty FPD officer realized that Crowley-Smilek was armed with a pistol and informed UMF public safety.

Crowley-Smilek was discovered to be carrying a concealed, loaded .45 handgun, without a license to do so. He pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon illegally, a misdemeanor, on April 22 and received a 5-day jail sentence and $500 fine.

More recently, Crowley-Smilek was arrested on charges relating to an alleged assault of a 23-year-old man outside of Front Street Tavern on Jan. 8, 2011. The alleged victim told police he was assaulted in his car by a man after he refused to drive him and another man to a party. At an unrelated incident later that evening, police say they discovered Crowley-Smilek outside 401 High Street with blood on his hands and pants. Crowley-Smilek pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault in Franklin County Superior Court on May 20.

More details will be posted about this incident as they become available.

[UPDATE 1:08 p.m.] – Police say that a 28-year-old local man was fatally shot this morning when he confronted a police officer with a knife.

Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck said the deceased Farmington man’s name was being withheld pending notification of his family. The individual was known to the police department, he added. The name of the Farmington Police Department officer involved in the shooting is not being released at this time.

Peck said that “outside agencies” were investigating the shooting. Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office, the Maine State Police and the Office of the Medical Examiner were on the scene Saturday morning. The local district attorney’s office had also been notified.

Details from the original report can be found below.

[12:15 p.m.] FARMINGTON – A fatal shooting of an unidentified  man involving a Farmington police officer occurred in front of the municipal building this morning, after an apparent altercation.

Details remain sketchy at this time, with emergency services blocking off the Farmington Falls Road between Maple and Franklin Avenue. Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck said he expects the detour to remain in place all day as the Maine State Police investigate the shooting. Fire engines, police cruisers and yellow tape have been placed around the building.

An unnamed police officer called for back up at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. As officers began to arrive to help him, the shooting occurred near the sidewalk leading to the municipal town building’s front door.

A husband and wife, who didn’t want to identified, said they were driving past the municipal building and saw the officer facing a man. Just then, she said, she saw two flashes of light.

“I thought it was a training exercise,” she said.

Peck said the officer was not injured, “but he’s pretty shook up.”

More details will be posted about this incident as they become available.

Numerous police and other first responders arrive immediately at the town office following the incident.
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