Veteran South Portland police officer Steve Connors died this week unexpectedly at home, the city said Wednesday.

Connors, 50, died Monday in Saco, according to a statement. He had served the city since 1995, working as a detective and patrolman for most of his career.

In 2006, Connors was shot four times during a high-risk arrest of a man who was wanted in the kidnapping of his girlfriend. Connors and other officers tracked the suspect to a South Portland apartment, and the two exchanged gunfire at close range. The suspect was also wounded but survived.

Connors healed and returned to work, a mark of his perseverance and commitment to serving the public, said former chief Ed Googins, who hired Connors and served alongside him for more than two decades.

He was shot in the hand, shoulder and chest. One bullet grazed his skull. The man who shot Connors, Terrell Dubois, was sentenced to serve 18 years of a 35-year term in Maine State Prison for attempted murder and other felonies.

“I think he did as good a job if not better when he came back,” Googins said of Connors. “People will probably tell you that he changed, and I don’t want to go down that path. Our experiences change us. He was a rock-solid officer when it came to doing his job and serving the public. I’m personally devastated.”


Googins, who retired early last year, recalled driving to Maine Medical Center after he got the call about Connors’ injuries, which at first were described as grave.

When Googins arrived, he said, Connors was awake.

“He was thankful for his training,” Googins said. “I know that really stuck out, because obviously these are the types of things in law enforcement or any profession where you have to make that instantaneous decision. You do that based on your training, you don’t have time to think about it.”

The city of South Portland thanked Connors and his family for his service on Wednesday, and acknowledged the “grave impact” his death will have on family, friends and colleagues.

“On behalf of the entire South Portland Police Department family, Officer Connors was a true hero and will be sadly missed,” said interim Police Chief James DiGianvittorio, in a statement.

Support services and counseling are being offered to Connors’ colleagues. Funeral services will be arranged by his family. Connors is survived by his mother, a brother and sister, and other relatives.

“The department and the city are devastated by this loss,” said South Portland Mayor Misha Pride. “I think this is a very traumatic time for all first responders and this really does increase that trauma.”

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