The site of a suspicious death at a homeless encampment along the Fore River Parkway Trail System in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The death of a 36-year-old man whose body was found Wednesday at a campsite near the Fore River Parkway Trail System has been deemed suspicious, but there is no danger to the public, Portland police said Thursday.

Police were called to a campsite along the Fore River Parkway near Westfield and Frederic streets at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday for someone in need of medical assistance, but the man was already dead when officers arrived, said Maj. Robert Martin.

Martin said the man’s death is considered suspicious and an autopsy will be done by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.

Police have not released the man’s name or any other details about what they believe happened at the campsite.

The campsite is part of a cluster of tents along the trail where some homeless people have been staying. One man who has been living out of a tent not far from where the body was found said Thursday that he and his friends were sleeping in their tent when they heard the ‘pop’ of a gunshot Wednesday afternoon.

The man, who declined to give his name because he is homeless and did not want his whereabouts known, said one of his friends woke him up and said, “Somebody down in that community let out a shot,” referring to a separate group of tents in the same area.


He said they all stayed in their tent until police showed up and asked them to come out and talk to them. He said he didn’t know the man who died but had heard the incident “was all over drugs.”

The area of a suspicious death at a homeless encampment on the Fore River Parkway Trail System in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“I was woken up by the sound and that’s pretty much it,” the man said. He said part of the tent where the man had been staying had been removed by police following his death. People in the tents on either side of where the tent had been didn’t want to speak to a reporter Thursday.

Martin declined to answer additional questions about the case Thursday, including whether the man who died had been shot and whether police removed his tent, citing the open investigation.

Staff writers Gillian Graham and Dennis Hoey contributed to this report. 

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