This house on Ward Hill Road in Thorndike was the scene of a November 2019 domestic disturbance that ended with a state trooper shooting and critically injuring a man. The Maine Attorney General’s Office this week determined the trooper was justified in shooting the man, who survived his injuries. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

The Maine Attorney General’s Office determined this week that the state police shooting of a Thorndike man outside the man’s home during an armed confrontation in 2019 was justified.

State police Trooper Thomas Bureau II used deadly force that resulted in nonfatal injuries to Eric Fitzpatrick, then 33, when Fitzpatrick aimed a Taser and what appeared to be a handgun at him on the night of Nov. 26, 2019, according to a four-page report released Friday by Attorney General Aaron M. Frey.

While the handgun turned out to be a pepper spray gun, Bureau’s perception that it was a firearm was reasonable given the limited nighttime lighting and specific actions by Fitzpatrick, who asserted that he had a handgun, had the trooper in his sights and intended to shoot both Bureau and Trooper Luke Martin, Frey wrote in the report, which was in the form of a letter to state police Col. John Cote dated Wednesday.

State police reported in 2019 that Fitzpatrick was shot at a home at 108 Ward Hill Road, taken to Waldo County Hospital and then flown by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he initially was listed in critical condition. Bureau was placed on administrative leave, as is standard in all police-involved shootings.

The AG’s report released Friday says he was shot in the abdomen, which caused significant damage to his liver, but he survived. Fitzpatrick later was indicted on a count of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and in a plea agreement on June 15, 2021, was convicted of the criminal threatening charge and sentenced to three years incarceration, with all three suspended in favor of three years probation. The same day, he was convicted of domestic violence terrorizing that occurred in April 2021 and sentenced to three years, all suspended, in favor of two years probation to be served concurrently with the prior sentence.

The AG’s report also said that Bureau on the night of the shooting reasonably believed Fitzpatrick “was about to use unlawful deadly force” because Bureau knew that prior to his arrival at the home, Fitzpatrick had attempted to assault his ex-wife with a Taser and break into her vehicle when she attempted to get away.


Bureau and Martin identified themselves as state police and told him repeatedly to drop his weapons, the report said.

“Instead, he challenged them verbally and by aiming his weapons first at Trooper Martin and then at Trooper Bureau,” the report said. “All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that Trooper Bureau acted in defense of self and others when he shot Mr. Fitzpatrick.”

Bureau and Martin had responded to Fitzpatrick’s after a neighbor called police after 9 p.m. expressing concern that Fitzpatrick was yelling outside her house, the report said. The dispatcher advised that Fitzpatrick was “on file as a schizophrenic,” it said.

The report details minute-to-minute movements of the troopers and Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s ex-wife had gone to the home and reported to a dispatcher that he was “freaking out on her and he is trying to tase her at this time,” the report said. She had reported she was in a vehicle in the driveway and Fitzpatrick was trying to break the window of that vehicle.

At one point Fitzpatrick continued to aim a Taser and what appeared to be a pistol at Martin and Martin yelled to him to put it down, but Fitzpatrick yelled expletives at the troopers and said he had live ammunition, according to the report.

Bureau drew his weapon and came around a corner in an effort to draw Fitzpatrick’s attention away from Martin. As Bureau continued to approach, Fitzpatrick extended his arms with the weapons pointed toward Bureau, who responded by firing two rounds, the report said.


A wounded Fitzpatrick stumbled into the kitchen and fell to the ground. He was wearing a ballistic vest without the ballistic shield or panel enclosed.

The finding by the Attorney General’s Office is in keeping with other investigations by the office into police shootings dating back decades.

Since 1990, every police shooting in Maine, numbering more than 170, has been deemed legally justified by the office, according to a January report by the Portland Press Herald.

Attempts to reach Fitzpatrick on Friday were unsuccessful as both numbers publicly listed for him were disconnected.

A court clerk said that Thomas F. Shehan Jr. was listed as his attorney in the criminal threatening case from Nov. 27, 2019, but when contacted later Friday Shehan said he was not representing Fitzpatrick. It is unclear if Fitzpatrick currently is being represented by an attorney.

Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for Maine Department of Public Safety, said Friday that Trooper Bureau has returned to active duty from administrative leave.

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