MEDWAY – A Marine Corps veteran who was shot and killed by law enforcement officers in a confrontation on federal property near a VA Medical Center was buried with military honors Tuesday.

A Marine honor guard participated in the service for James Popkowski in Medway after a funeral Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church of East Millinocket.

A team from the Maine National Guard provided a rifle salute.

Popkowski, 37, was a first lieutenant in the Marines when his service was cut short in 2003 by a rare form of leukemia. He left the Marines with an honorable discharge.

He died July 8 from a single gunshot wound to the neck after a confrontation with a federal officer and two game wardens near the entrance to the Togus VA Medical Center near Augusta, where he had received treatment in the past.

Some witnesses say Popkowski did nothing to provoke the officers.

But investigators say preliminary information indicates the officers felt threatened by Popkowski, who was armed with what witnesses said looked like a rifle.

Officers were responding to reports of gunfire from the woods.

Popkowski’s family declined to speak to news reporters Tuesday.

His last active duty assignment in the Marines was working for the National Security Agency, according to his family. He graduated with high honors from Norwich University in Vermont, where he earned a computer information systems degree, the school said.

His friends and family described him as patriotic, friendly and eager to help, even as he battled the cancer. He also enjoyed guns and had a target range outside his home.

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether the officers were justified in using deadly force in the encounter. Those investigations usually take months.

While questions surrounded the circumstances of Popkowski’s death, there was no question about whether he was entitled to military honors at the funeral.