Chasity Dionne can’t believe her brother is dead.

“It still feels like a bad dream I want to wake up from,” she said Tuesday. “He had his issues – we all have our issues – but he wasn’t dangerous. This didn’t need to happen.”

Chad Dionne, 37, was shot and killed by York County sheriff’s deputies who responded to a disturbance at his home in Arundel early Monday morning. Sheriff William King said Dionne was armed when he confronted deputies, who then fired at him. Dionne left behind a wife and young son, also named Chad.

Chasity Dionne said she couldn’t share many details of the incident because the family is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, but she said she doesn’t understand why deputies responded with such force.

“He was alone in the house. He didn’t even come outside. How could he have confronted them?” she said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

King said deputies were called to the home at 267 Alfred Road for a report of a domestic disturbance. He did not provide additional details about the alleged disturbance.

Chasity Dionne said she didn’t know the details either. She said people had been at her brother’s house the night before and there was a bonfire, but her brother was alone when police arrived about 2 a.m.

She said her brother, who had no prior criminal history in Maine, suffered from mental illness that had worsened in the past few years. She said alcohol also was a factor Monday.

“Part of me wonders if maybe this was a cry for help,” she said. “But instead they took his life. Shooting is supposed to be a last resort.”

Dionne’s death is now under investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office, which is standard procedure for any police shooting. The two York County deputies who were involved – Steven Thistlewood and Heath Mains – are on administrative leave pending the investigation, which could take several weeks or months. King said Tuesday that any additional information would come from the attorney general.

The AG’s office, in more than 100 investigations since 1990, has never ruled that an officer wasn’t justified in using deadly force.

Dionne’s sister said the family has viewed an evidence report from police that revealed officers fired 10 shots into the house. It’s not clear how many hit Dionne but he never fired his gun, she said.

Dionne, originally from Aroostook County, has been living in the Biddeford area for many years. He recently opened his own auto repair shop and was described as an “excellent mechanic” by a former colleague. A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit Dionne’s widow and child.

“Early this morning we lost an amazing husband, father and friend,” the site reads. “Anyone who knew Chad knew that they could call him at any time any day, it didn’t matter if he was busy doing his own thing. he would drop whatever it was and help you out even if he hardly knew you without asking for anything in return. He was just a stand-up guy who wanted to help whenever he could, so I ask you at this time to give his wife, Michelle, and son, Chad, a little help that they deserve.”

Police shootings have come under increased national scrutiny in recent years after several high-profile cases, many involving victims who are African-American, have shown officers acting aggressively and, in some cases, negligently.

In response, many advocates have called on police departments to outfit all officers with body cameras that would record any interactions.

So far in Maine, police in South Portland, Fairfield, Gardiner, Wilton, Farmington, Richmond, Monmouth and Winslow use body cameras.

Chasity Dionne said she doesn’t know if police acted appropriately or not, but she believes they didn’t try hard enough to resolve the situation before shooting.

“I get that they have to protect themselves, they have families too,” she said. “But if this was a standoff, it didn’t last long. Why did it have to end this way?”

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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