State and Lewiston police continue investigation into beating death

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LEWISTON — Local and state police say the investigation into the death of a man beaten near Kennedy Park in June remains open and active.

Donald Giusti, 38, of Lewiston died from injuries suffered in a June 12 fight involving teenagers, Giusti and two other men near Kennedy Park.

Witnesses said Giusti was beaten as two groups clashed near the downtown park late that night. The brawl was said to have been the result of ongoing disputes between the two groups.

Investigators have interviewed more than 100 people, reviewed surveillance photos and examined evidence from the scene, according to a statement from Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland. 

No charges have been filed.

State and Lewiston police investigators are working the case nearly full time, according to McCausland’s statement.

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Jim Thompson, who is Giusti’s uncle, said Thursday that investigators are doing a good job and the family understands the investigation has taken so long because there are so many people who need to be interviewed.

On June 19, Lewiston Police Chief Brian O’Malley told city councilors many of the people involved in the case are juveniles who need parental permission to be interviewed. He has asked the public for patience with the investigative process.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Maine State Police in Augusta at 207-624-7076 or Lewiston police at 207-513-3001.

Witnesses said the two groups started brawling June 12 on Knox Street after teens in a car drove past Kennedy Park and shot pellets and BBs at a group gathered there, striking several people.

Several members of the Kennedy Park group, including Giusti, chased the car to Knox Street, sources said. There they clashed with a large group of teens and others, several of whom were wielding bats, pipes, bricks and sticks, according to witnesses.

Witnesses said Giusti was beaten with a brick. He died three days later at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

In the days following the fight, several people insisted the attack on Giusti and his friends had been racially motivated, the result of ethnic tensions that had existed in and around the park since the end of winter.

A week after the Knox Street brawl, the City Council voted to set an earlier curfew in the park to quell what police said were concerning incidents in and around the park. Police also stepped up foot patrols in the park, and city officials announced plans to upgrade surveillance in the downtown.

On Monday, O’Malley announced that overtime shifts and coordinated patrols with state police were being added to the city’s regular uniformed police presence to combat a recent spike in violent crime in the downtown area, including a number of drug-related shootings.

Most recently, two men were charged in a July 7 shootout at a Bartlett Street apartment building.

On June 16, a man was shot in the leg at the corner of Bartlett and Pine streets. The same day, gunfire was reported on Spring Street.

In addition to greater city and state police patrols, the city expects to receive help from federal departments, including drug enforcement agents, to increase the police presence on city streets.

Lewiston police officers talk as they patrol Kennedy Park on the evening of June 20 as they got ready to enforce a curfew placed in the wake of violence reported in and around the park.  (Sun Journal file photo)

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