The 38-year-old man who was badly beaten during a brawl this week in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park has died, state police said.

Donald Giusti

Donald Giusti of Lewiston died Friday afternoon at Central Maine Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized since late Tuesday night when the fight erupted.

Friends of Giusti, a father of two, described him as a former brawler who had been trying to turn his life around.

“He used to be a hell of a fighter,” 44-year-old Cynthia Stoddard told the Sun Journal. “Around three years ago, he said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ He was a good guy. He was trying to get his life straightened out.”

Two groups clashed Tuesday on Knox Street after teenagers in a car reportedly drove past the park and shot pellets and BBs at a group gathered there, according to Sun Journal sources who said they witnessed the events.

Several people pursued the car from the park to Knox Street, where a melee broke out, the teens reportedly wielding sticks, bats and bricks, sources said.

Police are investigating to determine whether there were racial elements to the fight, an assertion made by many in the aftermath of the brawl.

“There were certainly different ethnic origins involved in the fight,” Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre said on Thursday. “I don’t know exactly how many. We get reports or I’ve seen on social media and other outlets that people are saying there are as many as 30 or 40 people from different ethnic backgrounds. I don’t know that to be accurate.”

Lewiston police Officer Tom Murphy talks with people Wednesday about a fight in Kennedy Park late Tuesday night. A man who was beaten during the brawl died Friday.

The police investigation will help determine who was involved and why, he said. But the participants don’t appear to be the same individuals each time nor the same groups of people.

Maine Public Safety Spokesman Stephen McCausland said an autopsy is planned to determine Giusti’s cause of death.

Police said that anyone who saw the fight should contact either Lewiston police at 513-3138, or the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit at 624-7076.

The Sun Journal reported that Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard said Friday that Police Chief Brian O’Malley and City Administrator Ed Barrett will be updating the public before Tuesday’s City Council meeting about the city’s response to the violence.

“They’ll be talking about some of the things we’ve done over the last couple weeks in light of these incidents prior to the meeting next week,” he said.

Sun Journal staff contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

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