TURNER – The man killed at a central Maine egg farm Monday died from a single gunshot that wounded him in the chest and neck, police said Wednesday. Police say they located relatives of Manuel Adame, 57, in Texas and notified them of his death. Adame had worked for the former DeCoster Egg Farm, now operated by Moark Egg Farm, for many years.
Police also identified Michael Warbin of Franklin, Conn., as the man who fired the shot from the .22-caliber rifle that killed Adame. Warbin, 44, was shooting at rodents and stray chickens in an effort to clear out an egg house.
The process of clearing a house prior to accepting a new flock is common, but it is not clear whether that activity typically involves using a .22-caliber rifle, authorities said.
The egg house where Warbin was working is 500 feet long and poorly lit. Police are still trying to determine whether a bullet ricocheted off the floor, the metal structure or one of the machines before striking Adame. His wound could shed some light on the trajectory of the bullet.
Warbin, a contractor hired from out of state to help clean out vermin and other pests on the farm, is cooperating in the investigation, police said. A Michael Warbin is listed in the state of Connecticut as a nuisance wildlife control operator with the company C&M Property Management.
The shooting is believed to be unintentional but investigators want to know why Warbin was apparently unaware there was someone in his field of fire, Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said Tuesday.
Authorities are trying to determine whether criminal negligence played a role in the shooting death of Adame, who lay bleeding on the floor of a building for an undetermined period of time before a co-worker found him.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health administration also is investigating whether workplace safety rules were violated.
Moark Egg Farm runs several large egg farms in the state and is owned by the dairy conglomerate Land O’Lakes.
Building 51, where the shooting occurred, is almost the length of two football fields and is filled with cages and machinery for feeding birds and collecting eggs, with narrow walkways in between, authorities said.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327, or at: