Two Falmouth police officers who shot and killed a man armed with a knife Tuesday night did not have time to try to de-escalate the situation because he confronted them when they got out of their cruisers, police said Wednesday.

The officers who fired multiple rounds at Daniel DiMillo, 51, were Sgt. Kevin Conger and Officer Peter Theriault. They were called to the intersection of Lunt and Middle roads about 5:47 p.m. after a report of a man running around the intersection in circles with a knife, said John Kilbride, chief of the Falmouth police.

DiMillo died at the scene. Conger and Theriault are on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated, as is standard practice.

“All my officers have mental health training and every day they deploy that in some form or another to de-escalate situations before they become violent,” Kilbride said at a brief news conference Wednesday afternoon. “That particular (tactic) would not happen in this particular incident. These officers were engaged immediately upon exiting their vehicles.”

Two neighbors said that DiMillo had longstanding mental health problems and that he had lived at a home on the corner with his elderly parents for several years. He sometimes paced around his yard, said one neighbor. The other said DiMillo once had an altercation with someone who lived nearby that resulted in a call to police. The neighbors asked to not be identified, out of respect for the family.

He was shot at the entrance to his driveway, the neighbor who mentioned the altercation said, pointing to the spot where DiMillo’s body apparently had lain until investigators with the Maine Attorney General’s Office completed their work about midnight.

Police had a dozen previous contacts with DiMillo dating to 2015, and details of those previous calls have been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office, Kilbride said. But he refused to describe the nature of those interactions or confirm whether the sergeant and officer responding that night had knowledge of DiMillo’s apparent mental health history.

Audio recordings of police radio traffic indicate that they were were aware of him because he was mentioned by name while the officers were en route. But one person in the back-and-forth dismissed a suggestion that the call concerned DiMill0 because the description police received did not match him. The original report was for a man in his 30s, but DiMillo was 51.

“What was the name of the subject who lived at the corner?” one officer asked as he drove to the scene, lights and sirens blaring.

“You talkin’ DiMillo?” a second person responded.

“Yep, that’s the one,” the first officer said.

“That’s Dan DiMillo, I don’t think he matches the description we were given,” said the second person, but he did not say why.

During the moments before police arrived, a fire official apparently saw the man in the intersection and described his weapon.

“Engine 2 just called,” one of the dispatchers said on the radio. “They’re advising that he’s still running around in the intersection with a long, fixed-blade knife.”

About 75 seconds after one of the police officers radioed that he had arrived at the intersection, he called out again, breathing heavily.

“Shots fired! He had a knife,” the unidentified officer said.

Kilbride said Conger sustained minor injuries to his arm when he fell to the ground at some point during the interaction. He was treated and released from the hospital.

The officer-involved shooting was the first in Falmouth, Kilbride said. He offered his condolences to the DiMillo family while acknowledging the sadness of the situation for his patrolmen.

It is the 11th time this year that a Maine police officer shot someone. Eight of those shot were killed and three were injured, according to records kept by the Attorney General’s Office, which investigates every use of deadly force by police.

Only one other year – 2017 – has had as many police shootings. In that year, some of the 11 incidents involved police firing at multiple people. Nine were killed by police, three were injured and two were unharmed.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.