Family members recalled John Knudsen, the 61 year old shot during a standoff with police in Hollis Thursday, as a intelligent, extremely capable man who struggled with alcoholism much of his life.
Police say Knudsen was shot after he fired a handgun at police following a standoff that lasted more than three hours. He had been drinking much of the day and had earlier argued with his wife, who called police and fled the couple’s home.
“All I can say is, besides the alcoholism, he was a talented, smart, educated man” said his sister Kathleen Knudsen-Kneeland of Windham. “He built cabinets on the side and he could build an engine from top to bottom…I remember him always working on something.”
Knudsen-Kneeland said her brother bought a gun about 15 years ago when his house was broken into and vandalized.
“I knew he had the gun up there…that was an issue because he was a heavy drinker and he had a tendency to pull the gun out when he was drinking,” his sister said.
Police were called to 33 Little Falls Road, a manufactured home set back from the road, at about 10:30 a.m.
Knudsen and his wife Linda were just married in August on Islesboro, according to Knudsen-Kneeland.
They were a happy couple, as happy as Knudsen had been in a relationship since the death of his first wife in 2010.
“They were thrilled to pieces. Their wedding day they just had eyes for each other,” said another of his sisters, Theresa Kimmey.
Witnesses reported hearing a total of three shots fired at about 2:15 p.m. Police negotiators had been trying to get John Knudsen to surrender.
The State Medical Examiner was conducting an autopsy Friday morning on Knudsen’s body.
Members of the state police tactical team surrounded his house as negotiators tried to get him to give himself up.
After extended negotiations – as the tactical team kept watch on the house in Thursday’s bitter cold – Knudsen went to his front door, said something to police, then fired a handgun at troopers, police said.
Trooper Tyler Stevenson, a member of the tactical team and a nine-year veteran of the department, returned fire and fatally shot Knudsen around 2:15 p.m.
McCausland said Stevenson has been put on administrative leave with pay – a standard procedure – while the shooting is investigated by the Attorney General’s Office.
Such an investigation is required whenever a police officer in Maine uses deadly force. The Attorney General’s Office must determine whether it was legally justifiable.
Police officers may use deadly force only in situations in which they perceive an imminent threat against themselves or someone else, and actually and reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to counter that threat.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: