Lewiston Police Detective Tom Murphy, center, and other local and state law enforcement officials went to several downtown Lewiston locations early Thursday morning to arrest individuals in connection with the killing of Donald Giusti last year. The young man being arrested in this photo was taken into custody a few feet from where Giusti was killed on Knox Street. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

LEWISTON — Police swept through the downtown early Thursday and in Limestone, arresting two local teens and an adult in connection with the June 2018 beating death of Donald Giusti near Kennedy Park, according to authorities.

Donald G. Giusti Family photo

Giusti, 38, died June 15 at Central Maine Medical Center, three days after he was beaten on Knox Street.

The two juveniles were taken into custody Thursday morning: a 17-year-old was arrested and charged with manslaughter in Limestone; a 13-year-old, charged with misdemeanor assault in Lewiston. Both were taken to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

The 13-year-old was scheduled to appear in court Thursday; the 17-year-old, Friday.

Pierre Mousafiri, 23, of Lewiston was arrested for misdemeanor assault and taken to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn.  Mousafiri’s arraignment date is set for June 12 at 8th District Court.

He is free on $500 cash bail, according to jail officials. The charge is a Class D misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

Shortly after 6 a.m., Lewiston and Maine State police, split into teams, went to various locations downtown, searching for their suspects. One teen was taken out of an apartment building on Ash Street in handcuffs at about 6:30 a.m.

A second suspect was arrested in an apartment house near the corner of Knox and Birch streets minutes later. Police also went to a second Knox Street apartment building and another on Howe Street as they searched.

Both arrests were made without incident. Few people were on the streets when police began searching for their suspects.

The 17-year-old male was located in Limestone Thursday morning by State Police troopers assigned to Troop F in Aroostook County.

Pierre Musafiri Androscoggin County jail photo

The arrests were the result of several months of investigation, which included multiple interviews, a thorough review of physical and electronic evidence seized in the case and after consulting with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Androscoggin District Attorney’s Office and the Juvenile Corrections Office, according to State P0lice spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Maine State Police have been heading the investigation, which has continued for nearly a year. They did not immediately respond for further information about the arrests Thursday morning. The names of those arrested were not available.

Giusti’s family — along with others in the community — have complained in the past about lack of charges stemming from his death. Earlier this year, the family released a statement, expressing their unhappiness with the investigation.

Witnesses said Giusti was beaten as two groups clashed near the downtown park late in the evening June 12. The brawl was said to have been the result of ongoing disputes between the two groups.

Witnesses said the groups got to brawling on Knox Street after teens in a car drove past the park and shot pellets and BBs at a group gathered there, striking several people.

Several members of the Kennedy Park group, including Giusti, chased the car to Knox Street, sources said. There they clashed with a large group of teens and others, several of whom were wielding bats, sticks, pipes and bricks.

Witnesses said Giusti was beaten with a brick, resulting in injuries that proved fatal.

In the days after the fight, several people insisted that attack on Giusti and his friends had been racially motivated, the result of tensions that had existed in and around the park since the end of winter.

Lewiston police responded to those allegations as the investigation got underway.

“There were certainly different ethnic origins involved in the fight,” Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said two days after the fight. “I don’t know exactly how many. We get reports or I’ve seen on social media and other outlets that people are saying there are as many as 30 or 40 people from different ethnic backgrounds. I don’t know that to be accurate.”

Police had said the investigation took longer than some because of the sheer number of people involved and because many were juveniles.

Lewiston Mayor Kristen Cloutier released a statement Thursday praising the efforts of law enforcement officials.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Lewiston Police Department, the Maine State Police, and the State Attorney General’s Office for conducting a thorough investigation into the events that resulted in the death of Donald Giusti.  This has been a long and complicated investigation, and it is my sincere hope that its conclusion will help bring closure to the members of the Giusti family and allow our Lewiston community to begin the process of healing and reconciliation.

“As the mayor of Lewiston, I hope that we will come together as a community to grieve and process our losses, but also to get to know our neighbors, whether long-time residents or newcomers, and build relationships that will strengthen our community’s bonds and prevent tragic events like this from happening in the future.

“We must be vigilant in denouncing violence and retaliation and encourage peaceful solutions to the complicated issues we face, both here in Lewiston and throughout our country.  We cannot be complacent in the face of intolerance, regardless of its source.  We must make a concerted effort every day to relate to each other with civility and understanding and to reject that which would divide us.”

“This will be hard and sometimes uncomfortable work, but I know we have the strength to confront it.  The safety and future of our community depend on it.”

Sun Journal writer Christopher Williams contributed to this report.

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