LEWISTON — Police on Wednesday continued to investigate a standoff that ended in suicide last week, but authorities failed to turn up a handgun the dead man allegedly used to threaten a neighbor shortly before the standoff began.
Police said they planned to again interview that neighbor, Justin Lee Lord, 31, of 2 Towle St., in an effort to determine whether he was truthful when he told police he was a victim of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
Daniel Bussiere, 49, of 163 Holland St. died Sept. 3 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head and neck, a spokeswoman at the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said. His suicide came about 20 hours into standoff with police.
Bussiere held police at bay in his first-floor apartment from 5 a.m. Wednesday until about 12:30 a.m. Thursday after the State Police Tactical Team shot tear gas through the building's windows.
Lord told police that Bussiere had threatened him as he was walking to work that morning by putting as handgun on the bridge of his nose shortly before the standoff started.
In a handwritten statement, Lord said: "He Dan put a (silver) and black gun to my head it looked like a 357 i could see into the (chamber) of the gun the (bullets) was like a copper color he Dan said 'I got something 4 you now i did not (reply) to him i was scared i was (froze) he was pushing the (barrel) into between my eyes then he pulled back the hammer of the gun he Dan was shaking the gun was at my head 4 about more than 2 to 3 minutes then Dan put the gun down to his (side) I saw my chance to run so I ran to 7-11."
Police recovered from Bussiere's apartment a 30-30 Savage hunting rifle that had one spent shell and one live round. They also found a BB gun in his living-room and a knife under his mattress, but no other weapons, according to a search warrant returned to 8th District Court.
Police Lt. Mark Cornelio said Wednesday the investigation remained open as police searched for the handgun Lord described in his statement.
"Was this whole thing a lie by Mr. Lord just to get his neighbor in trouble?" Cornelio asked. Or maybe Bussiere hid that gun before holing himself up in his apartment, Cornelio said.
"Unfortunately, we'll never be able to talk to Mr. Bussiere and get his side of the story," Cornelio said.
Police had issued a warrant for Bussiere's arrest on a charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon the day of the standoff, based on Lord's statement. Although that charge was dropped, there are "still a lot of unanswered questions," Cornelio said. "We owe it to the Bussiere family to continue to follow through with this."
Bussiere had two prior convictions for assault, both dating back to 1996.
Lord has convictions for two felonies and several misdemeanors, including carrying a concealed weapon in 2007, according to state records.