In The Poacher's Son I do my best to write about the dangers Maine game wardens face on a daily basis. One of the points I try to make in the book is that wardens are de facto police officers, and the threat of violence hangs over their heads in ways most people don't appreciate. Sadly, today was one of those days all wardens dread:
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine law enforcement officers shot and killed an armed man within sight of the entrance of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Togus this morning.
The Attorney General’s Office identified the victim as James F. Popkowski, 37, of Medway.
Popkowski, a patient at the medical center, was fatally injured during an armed confrontation with Togus police officer Thomas Park and two game wardens, Sgt. Ron Dunham and Warden Joey Lefebrve, according to a press release from Attorney General Janet Mills. Police said Popkowski had carried a gun “in a threatening manner.” Seeing the confrontation, the game wardens came to the aid of the Togus officer.
Popkowski was killed in the confrontation that occurred shortly after 9 a.m.. Mills said Dunham and Park fired at Popkowski and that preliminary evidence indicates that officers shot in defense of themselves.
Because I am not covering this story as a reporter, interviewing the principles and witnesses, it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on the sequence of events that led to the shooting until the attorney general has finished her inquiry.