Farmington officer in fatal shooting described as bright, professional

FARMINGTON — The police officer who shot a man said to have been charging at him with a knife Saturday is described as a bright, dedicated professional.

Ann Bryant/Sun Journal file photo 2011

Farmington Police officer Ryan Rosie

Officer Ryan Rosie, 27, is on paid administrative leave as several investigations get under way, police Chief Jack Peck said Monday.

“I know it has affected him,” Peck said.

When Rosie went outside the police station at about 11 a.m. Saturday to assist Justin Crowley-Smilek, Peck said Crowley-Smilek pulled a large knife from his pocket, raised it and moved aggressively toward Rosie, who shot and killed him.

Crowley-Smilek of Farmington died from multiple gunshot wounds and the manner is homicide, which means that death was caused by another, Mark Belserene, administrator of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Maine.

Peck described Rosie as a bright young man who has a degree in criminal justice. He did very well on his oral boards and written testing to become a police officer for Farmington in June.

He is professional and takes his job serious, Peck said.

“He seems to be a passionate, caring person,” he said.

Rosie is scheduled to attend the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in January 2012.

After reviewing everything he knows about the incident, Peck said he doesn't believe there was anything Rosie could have done differently.

He said he will investigate whether there were any violations of department policies and procedures. Two other investigations are also being conducted, one by the Attorney General's Office and one by a shooting review board, Peck said.

The Farmington Police Department has come under fire since people learned that Crowley-Smilek was a veteran who served in Afghanistan.

Crowley-Smilek's father, Michael, said previously that his son had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar affective disorder and delusions because he was not taking medication.

Justin Crowley-Smilek has had several run-ins with the police.

In one instance, Crowley-Smilek was accused of beating a man with a flashlight after the man declined to give him a ride on Jan. 8. Within a week, Crowley-Smilek was arrested again on a bail check. According to Farmington police, they found a machete and marijuana plants growing at his residence.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson wrote a bail request in January to the court after Crowley-Smilek was arrested a few days later on a violation of conditions of release.

He also listed some of Crowley-Smilek's record: Carrying concealed weapon, April 22, 2010; trafficking in dangerous knives, Aug. 6, 2009; carrying concealed weapon, Nov. 2, 2009; false public report, Aug. 28, 2008; and operating under the influence on Jan. 10, 2008, and Aug. 22, 2007.

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Jeremy Traverse's picture

Officer Rosie

I know Officer Rosie personally and after reading the above comments, I am appalled that the individuals who neither know him nor undertand he profession he works have the gall to second guess his decision. Officer Rosie went home to his family safely at the end of his shift. He was presented with a potentially deadly situation (MAN CHARGING HIM WITH A KNIFE) and reacted with a level of force that met and was appropriate to stop the level of threat.

I have had the pleasure to attend college courses with Rosie, work with Rosie, and get to know him on a personal level. He is a man of honor, integrity and a man with family values. As a fellow officer I would have no qualm with working alongside him in any situation. Rosie always pushed our limits through the physical fitness courses and also encouraged us to do better in our academic and professional settings. It could be snowing and -20*F out and he'd find a way to smile about what he was doing.

Again, for you readers who have not had experience with what an office deals with on a daily basis, do a ride-a-long with an officer or an ambulance crew... It will be an eye opening experience.

Rosie, I am honored to know you. Stay safe brother.

Fellow Police Officer in Wyoming

Christopher Howard's picture

It is very tragic that this

It is very tragic that this veteran was shot, and even worse that he died. But as horrible as this situation is, there are a few things that need to be considered.

At the moment he was shot, the fact that this man was a veteran is irrelevant. He was a knife wielding attacker who charged after a man who was armed with a gun. If in fact the officer KNEW that this man was a trained Army Ranger, then that made his reaction even more appropriate. A knife is a deadly weapon! And when someone is trained in knife combat that makes them a very dangerous opponent. If you take the time to read up on it, you'll see that if an attacker has a knife and is within 20 feet, there is often very little that you can do to defend yourself when they decide to come at you.

If he was armed with a taser, and if he had decided to use that instead of his handgun, then he would have only had one shot to try and defend himself. If the taser did not make good contact with BOTH probes, then it would have been ineffective. You do not use a taser when presented with a deadly force unless a second person is able to also present deadly force just in case the taser is not effective. There are a lot of things that will make a taser ineffective and in a situation like this, there isn't a lot of time to try and decide if it will work or not. Would you be willing to gamble your life in that same situation?

The fact that the officer shot multiple times is also something that sounds a lot worse than it probably is. The real world isn't like Hollywood. Bullets don't usually stop someone in their tracks like you see in the movies. Quite frequently, an enraged attacker won't even realize he was shot until after battle is over. Again, if you read about people who have been shot in combat, how many incidents will you find about people who were seriously wounded and continued to fight. Just take a look at hunters who have shot a deer through the lungs and or heart, but have to track that animal upwards of a mile before they find where it finally died. Adrenaline can make the human body do amazing things even after it has received wounds that make death unavoidable.

I challenge any of you to put yourselves in the same situation that this officer found himself in and manage to escape without being dead.

Paula Collins's picture

Farmington Officer in Fatal Shooting

I cannot understand for the life of me why the cop could not use the tazer. Indeed, and thankfully, I was not present, but did he need to fatally shoot this young man? I cannot justify using multiple shots over a knife!!! Something is nto right.

Isis  Whalen's picture

No taking it back.

He is no hero, and now the news is going to make him out to be a "a passionate, caring person" who apparently didnt think one shot to the head was enough? -"Rosie has been with the Farmington police force since June of this year and has NOT received training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. Rosie is scheduled to participate in an 18-week training session at the academy beginning in January 2012, the chief said."- That says it all, A Life could have been saved. Officer rosie may be remorseful, but thats never going to be good enough.


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