FARMINGTON — Justin Crowley-Smilek left his apartment Saturday morning without his wallet, his watch or his cellphone.

His girlfriend, Destiny Cook, who had stayed with him Friday night, said she now believes Crowley-Smilek knew he would not be coming back Saturday.

She said she believes he had intended to die that morning — one way or the other.

A short time after he left home, Crowley-Smilek, 28, a former U.S. Army Ranger who suffered from combat stress and physical injuries from service in Afghanistan, was dead; shot multiple times by a police officer outside the Farmington municipal offices on U.S. Route 2.

Police Chief Jack Peck said Officer Ryan Rosie, who shot the former soldier, was countering deadly force with deadly force. Crowley-Smilek had a knife and acted in a threatening way toward the police officer, Peck said.

Cook said Crowley-Smilek wanted to settle down, raise his own food and start a family. He was buying a house in Mount Vernon, but had become increasingly paranoid in recent weeks and suffered from constant and severe back pain, she said.

It all finally caught up with him.

“He just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Cook, 33, a certified massage therapist and owner of Western Mountain Massage in Farmington. “He didn’t want to be stopped. He wanted to die. He walked from his house to the police station knowing he was going to die.”

She said Tuesday she found his belongings when she returned to his apartment looking for him at about 9:30 a.m., not knowing that he was already on his way to the police station. Cook said Crowley-Smilek even left his therapy dog, Ranger, his constant companion, locked in the apartment’s bathroom. He was shot just after 11 a.m.

“I have no doubt in my mind” he intended to die that morning. “He wouldn’t have left all of his stuff. If he had brought his phone, he knew someone could have called him and stopped him. He didn’t want to be stopped.”

Crowley-Smilek’s father, Michael Smilek, said his son came home from the war in Afghanistan with severe combat stress. He suffered from bouts of substance use and had frequent problems with police as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. Crowley-Smilek was in Afghanistan for about four months, family members said.

Peter W. Ogden, director of the Bureau of Veterans Services in Maine, confirmed by phone Tuesday that Crowley-Smilek had served in combat overseas, but said he could not say where he served. Ogden said he is eligible for a full military funeral.

Cook said she has her boyfriend’s military records stored on her computer. They show he entered active duty on Aug. 11, 2005, and left active duty June 27, 2007, and that he was discharged from the service under honorable conditions.

Crowley-Smilek received the National Defense Service Medal, an Army service ribbon and a paratrooper’s badge, according to the discharge document, which also lists him as being an Army Ranger.

Cook said Crowley-Smilek suffered debilitating back problems from a 30-foot fall from a helicopter in Afghanistan and had become eligible for a medical marijuana prescription to ease the pain. She said Veterans Affairs officials approved pharmaceutical drugs to combat his PTSD and bipolar disorder, in spite of the marijuana.

Cook said her boyfriend’s frequent run-ins with the law were a direct result of his combat stress.

Assistant Franklin County District Attorney James Andrews said Tuesday that Crowley-Smilek had no criminal convictions in Franklin County before 2005 when he entered the military. Criminal charges came later with operating under the influence convictions in 2007 and 2008; carrying a concealed weapon and trafficking in dangerous knives in 2009; and a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon in April 2010, related to his bringing a loaded handgun to a college basketball game.

Pending charges against Crowley-Smilek in Franklin County include an indictment for aggravated assault and a charge of violating the conditions of release, according to Andrews.

Crowley-Smilek went to court on the assault charge the day before the shooting. The judge, on advice from Kary Laban, a licensed clinical counselor who treated Crowley-Smilek, ordered a full psychological evaluation.

“He couldn’t make himself happy. He thought he couldn’t do anything right,” Cook said. “There was just no hope left. I know he loved me, without a doubt in my mind, but it just wasn’t enough.

“All the good he had in his life, it just wasn’t healing the darkness inside of him. The darkness that kept him up at night. The darkness that drifted him off to these conspiracy theories to try to find answers of why he was terrified of everything. It just wasn’t enough.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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