A Gorham police officer was justified in shooting a Standish man who resisted arrest during a confrontation in a parking lot two years ago, the Maine Attorney General’s Office said in a report issued Monday.

Officer Dean Hannon II shot and killed 32-year-old Kyle Needham, who was driving a pickup truck in the parking lot at the Gorham Village Shopping Center on Main Street.

The report was made public more than two years after the shooting. Marc Malon, a spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office, said Attorney General Aaron Frey inherited a backlog of cases when he took office in 2019.

The confrontation involving Needham, Hannon and four other Gorham officers took place on May 31, 2019, when police tried to arrest Needham. Needham and his girlfriend had eaten at a Burger King and ran to his truck when officers tried to apprehend him.

Officers ordered him to turn his vehicle off and show his hands, but he ignored them, according to the report. Needham was wanted on arrest warrants for stemming from a high speed chase and probation violations.

“When Officer Hannon shot Mr. Needham, he reasonably believed that Mr. Needham was operating his truck in a manner likely to inflict death or serious bodily injury on Sgt. Nathan Therriault, other officers and civilians,” the report says. “Mr. Needham ignored repeated commands to stop and instead accelerated (his truck) in an attempt to flee without regard to the injuries likely to be inflicted on the officers around the truck.”

Cruiser video footage showed that when Needham backed up his truck, the open passenger door hit Therriault, knocking him to the ground.

“As a result of Mr. Needham’s aggressive operation, Officer Hannon lost sight of Sgt. Therriault and reasonably believed that Sgt. Therriault was at imminent risk of death or serious bodily injury because he (Therriault) had been standing in the only path of escape available to Mr. Needham. Moreover the Gorham Village Shopping Mall was congested with civilian drivers and pedestrians who were also at risk,” the report said.

Needham’s girlfriend said in a June 2019 interview with the Portland Press Herald that the shooting was unnecessary and her boyfriend never intended to hurt anyone.

Needham died of a single gunshot wound to his chest and abdomen, according to the AG’s report. A post mortem concluded that Needham had ingested methamphetamine, a stimulant that can cause hallucinations and aggressive behavior, Frey said.

Under Maine law, an officer is authorized to use deadly force when he or she believes it is necessary for self defense or to defend others.

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