Lewiston man dies from injuries sustained in Tuesday night fight

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LEWISTON — A man badly beaten near Kennedy Park on Tuesday night has died, police said Friday.

Donald Giusti, 38, died Friday afternoon at Central Maine Medical Center where he had remained since Tuesday night.

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

Police in Lewiston have been joined by Maine State Police, which investigates all homicides in the state. As of Friday afternoon, no one had been charged in the brawl.

Friends of Giusti described the 38-year-old as a former brawler who had been trying to turn his life around.

“He used to be a hell of a fighter,” said Cynthia Stoddard. “Around three years ago, he said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ He was a good guy. He was trying to get his life straightened out.”

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The most recent clash between the two groups occurred Tuesday on Knox Street after teens in a car reportedly drove past the park and shot pellets and BBs at a group gathered there, according to Sun Journal sources who said they witnessed the events.

Several members of the group pursued the car to Knox Street, where a melee broke out, the teens reportedly wielding sticks, bats and bricks, sources said.

Police are investigating to determine whether there were racial elements to the fight, an assertion made by many in the aftermath of the brawl.

“There were certainly different ethnic origins involved in the fight,” Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said Thursday. “I don’t know exactly how many. We get reports or I’ve seen on social media and other outlets that people are saying there are as many as 30 or 40 people from different ethnic backgrounds. I don’t know that to be accurate.”

The police investigation will help determine who was involved and why, he said. But the participants don’t appear to be the same individuals each time nor the same groups of people.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said an autopsy is planned to determine Giusti’s cause of death.

“The investigation is ongoing,” McCausland wrote in a release, “and police are still encouraging anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the detective division of Lewiston Police Department at 207-513-3138 or State Police Major Crimes Unit at 207-624-7076.”

Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard said Friday that Police Chief Brian O’Malley and City Administrator Ed Barrett on Tuesday will update people on the city’s response to the violence. 

“They’ll be talking about some of the things we’ve done over the last couple weeks in light of these incidents prior to the (City Council) meeting next week,” Bouchard said.

Donald Giusti (Facebook photo)

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