Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friends recall life of ex-Marine killed at Togus

Friends recall life of ex-Marine killed at Togus

By Nick Sambides Jr.
BDN Staff

An ailing Grindstone man and former U.S. Marine fatally shot by law enforcement officers near a veterans hospital Thursday was remembered by friends Friday as a generous, considerate man who struggled heroically to overcome a rare form of cancer and believed strongly in his right to carry a gun.

An autopsy of James F. Popkowski, 37, on Friday determined that he died from a gunshot wound to the neck and was killed in a homicide. The term denotes that he was killed by someone else, not that his death was necessarily caused by or came during a crime, a medical examiner's office spokeswoman said.

“I wished I could write that this was all a bad dream. … I can’t, so I instead will pray for the [lieutenant’s] family. Bing was a great boy and greater man. … He grew up with my boys and he never was nothing but a great kid,” wrote Galen Hale, a friend of Popkowski’s, on a Facebook page dedicated to Popkowski.

The Maine State Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether the two officers believed to have fired their weapons, VA police Officer Thomas Park and Maine Warden Service Sgt. Ron Dunham, were justified in using deadly force.

The investigation likely will take 60 to 90 days.
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Friends recall life of ex-Marine killed at Togus


Togus a city within a city
Thursday’s fatal shooting, first ever for police there, shines light on public safety
By Craig Crosby

AUGUSTA -- With thousands of people coming and going and dozens of buildings spread over hundreds of acres, all on federal land, the Togus Veterans Affairs hospital complex can accurately be described as a small city within the capital city.

And like any city, the facility comes replete with its own emergency services.

"A lot of people are surprised we're here," said Joe Stangel, a captain and emergency medical technician for the Togus Fire Department.

The Togus Police Department was cast into the public eye this week when one of its officers, along with a warden from the Maine Warden Service, reportedly shot and killed an armed Marine Corps veteran during a confrontation at the edge of the woods near Togus' Eastern Avenue entrance.

It was the first shooting involving a Togus police officer in the department's history.
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Togus a city within a city

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