LEWISTON – A Lewiston police officer’s use of deadly force in an August 2019 incident at Robinson Gardens in Lewiston was a justified act of self-defense, the Attorney General said in a report released Friday.

Just before noon Aug. 5, 2019, uniformed Lewiston police officers Jeffrey Burkhardt and Anthony Zawistowski responded to a caller who said there was a domestic dispute at Robinson Gardens. The caller said their neighbor, 50-year-old Kevin Harvey, had a gun and was threatening to kill Harvey’s girlfriend and himself. Harvey’s girlfriend, who is not named in the report, told officers that she fled from their house to their neighbor’s house, who called 9-1-1.

When the officers arrived at the caller’s house, they heard sounds of a gunshot, the report said. It is unclear in the report if that was the same gunshot that Harvey’s girlfriend heard as she was fleeing their home.

While securing the woods behind Harvey’s residence, Zawistowski noticed that the back door was open. As they moved back toward the house, he and Burkhardt heard the sound of another gunshot. Burkhardt turned toward the direction of the gunshot and “observed a man ‘proned out’ and looking in the direction of the officers,” according to the report.

Burkhardt fired a single round from his AR-15 rifle in the man’s direction and then ordered the man to show his hands. When he did not respond, Burkhardt and Zawistowski, now joined by other officers, approached the man.

Lewiston police respond on the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2019, to a report of an armed man at a Robinson Gardens home. The man, Kevin Harvey, later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

“They found Mr. Harvey with a fatal injury to his head and a handgun on the ground to his right,” the report said. “Two casings were located near Mr. Harvey’s body, which were later determined to have been casings of rounds fired from the handgun.”


A receipt found in Harvey’s car showed that he had purchased the handgun that day, along with many rounds of ammunition.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Harvey’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He did not have any other gunshot wounds, according to the report, meaning that Burkhardt’s shot did not hit Harvey.

Maine law requires that the Office of the Attorney General investigate the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer. To be considered a “lawful” use of deadly force, an officer must “reasonably believe” that a person is threatening “unlawful deadly force” against them or other people and that an officer’s use of deadly force is necessary for self-defense.

Report of Attorney General on the Use of Deadly Force Lewiston Aug. 5, 2019 by sunjournal on Scribd

Burkhardt was justified in shooting at Harvey because he “reasonably believed that Mr. Harvey was shooting at Officer Zawistowski and him,” Attorney General Aaron Frey wrote in his conclusion.

“Believing that the man had fired at the officers, Officer Burkhardt shot at the man to prevent him from shooting at the officers again. In fact, the gunfire that the officers heard was Mr. Harvey shooting himself in the head, but that information was not known to Officer Burkhardt at the time that he fired at Mr. Harvey. All the facts and circumstances point to the conclusion that Officer Burkhardt acted in defense of himself and Officer Zawistowski at the time he used deadly force,” Frey wrote.

Born in Oakland, California, and a 1987 graduate of Lisbon High School, Harvey was a “talented carpenter and electrician. He was a true Jack-of-All-Trades,” according to an obituary published in the Sun Journal.

“Kevin would give the shirt off his back for anyone that needed his help,” the obituary said.

Harvey had one daughter who lived in Westbrook at the time, it said.

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