Wednesday, April 16, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Matthew Blanchard had a cast on one leg from a crash injury when he was fatally shot in the chest on India Street.
Fom left, Ryan Blanchard, now 9; Nicci Haycock, mother to two of his children; Taylor Velez, now 9; and Blanchard.
Contributed 2007 photo
"He was never really down until this past month," she said, because of the death of Casey Green, 22, who was Blanchard's girlfriend for the past several years.
Police say they believe Blanchard fell asleep at 2:30 a.m. on June 22 while driving Green's car and it went off the road, hitting a tree.
"He didn't take it well at all," Ridge-Howard said. "He really wondered, 'Why her, not me?' especially because he was driving."
He returned to his and Green's apartment in Gray only once, and never went to the crash site, Ridge-Howard said.
Blanchard worked at Petco for a few years and did odd jobs, as well as doing roofing work for his father.
He went to Southern Maine Community College, studying heating and plumbing, and was planning a career as a plumber. He never thought he would go to college, but Green was attending and urged him to go, Ridge-Howard said.
Blanchard said he wanted a career, and wanted to provide for his family and avoid the cycle of misfortune that had befallen others in his family, Haycock said.
Ridge-Howard spent Sunday night at his house with Blanchard, Blanchard's father and the three men who survived the shooting. Blanchard and the other three called themselves brothers, though they weren't all biological brothers.
They had drinks, sat around a fire and watched wrestling on pay-per-view. "We just really had a good night," Ridge-Howard. "It was really the first time the six of us had hung out in a long time."
It was the last time he saw his friend.
Ridge-Howard grilled his nephew, John Howard, and the others about what happened early Wednesday.
"I asked them, 'Did you guys start (something) and Matt got the end of it?' They said they just walked into this bad situation. They said they didn't hear a thing. It was a quiet night.
"The next thing you know, they were getting shot at," Ridge-Howard said.
"Josh said he thought a Roman candle hit his arm. He didn't know he was shot. There were sparks from bullets hitting the ground. Matt was hit. Johnny was hit," Ridge-Howard said. "Whoever it was walked away like nothing happened."
Blanchard's family and friends are hoping to raise money for a funeral. A memorial fund has been set up. Contributions can be sent to: Matthew Blanchard Memorial Fund, care of Cathy Lestage, Evergreen Credit Union, P.O. Box 1038, 225 Riverside St., Portland, ME 04104.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:
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Blanchard with his children Ryan and with Brianna Blanchard, now 6.
Contributed 2007 photo