LEWISTON — It’s been 30 years, but Lewiston police officer David Payne has not been forgotten.

Gunned down by a career criminal in the woods off River Road in 1988, the officer will be memorialized in coming days.

Payne’s family will participate in a special service Sunday morning, July 22, at Richmond Corner Baptist Church.

On Monday, July 23, — 30 years to the day — police are hosting a memorial run from the scene of Payne’s murder to the park named in his honor.

A gathering at Simard-Payne Memorial Park — named for Payne and police officer Paul Simard who was slain in 1958 — will follow the run.

On July 23, 1988, Payne was checking on a car that had gone off River Road when he was shot and killed by a man who was recently freed from prison and was carrying a .44 Magnum revolver.

After a shootout, police arrested Nicolo Leone, a career criminal who at the time of Payne’s killing was free on probation after shooting another man three times in the face.

“Thirty years seems like a long time but to officers involved, it as fresh as yesterday,” said Don Mailhot, a former Lewiston police officer who was involved in the shootout and who eventually arrested Leone.

Mailhot said memorials like this are not only important as a way to honor the dead. They also serve as warnings for officers working the streets.

“I am concerned about our current officers as the past is being repeated — long hours, mandatory overtime, unable to fill the ranks, violent crime, drugs and police who have their hands tied by political and social correctness, ” he said. “If you don’t learn from history, you are destined to repeat it.”

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