GORHAM, Maine – The girlfriend of a man who was shot and killed by officers in Maine last week is telling the press that the shooting should have never happened and that the suspect never intended to harm anyone.
But state prosecutors tells a different story.
Kyle Needham was wanted by authorities after fleeing New York State Police in a high-speed chase in May. He was wanted on multiple warrants.
When officers located him in his truck at a Maine Burger King, they tried to bring him into custody. Police say that’s when he attempted to drive at them, prompting officers to open fire. Needham was killed in the incident. His girlfriend was in the passenger seat next to him.
“The man was shot while trying to escape from police in a truck,” said Marc Malon, a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office. The suspect “had used the truck to ram at least one police vehicle. He was shot when it appeared he was going to run over an officer,” Malon said.
No officers were injured during the sequence of events.
But now his girlfriend, Amanda Merrifield, is speaking out, claiming that Needham “wouldn’t hurt a fly” and was planning on turning himself into authorities after getting his affairs in order.
Man killed by Gorham police while trying to run down officer, state says https://t.co/e3IDMVWgbF
— Derek Davis (@derek_ddavis) June 1, 2019
Her version of the events goes like this.
The two were sitting in their truck in a parking lot when three cruisers pulled in. Officers jumped out with their guns drawn and began yelling for Needham to surrender. One of the officers opened Merrifield’s door and attempted to take her from the truck, but she pulled away as Needham yelled at the officer not to touch her. Then he threw the truck in reverse and hit the gas in an attempt to escape, she said.
Gorham Police Officer Dean Hannon then fired once at Needham, hitting him in the torso, as he attempted to drive the small pickup between two of the police cruisers, Merrifield said. But the force of the bullet shifted Needham’s weight, causing him to slump on the steering wheel and push on the accelerator, changing the direction and speed of the truck, she said. The pickup then struck a police cruiser before coming to a rest a short distance away. Needham collapsed in Merrifield’s lap and died a short time later after police pulled him from the vehicle to start CPR, Merrifield said.
She also claimed that officers put her life at risk when they fired at Needham.
“If that was any closer, or a higher-caliber gun, that could have gone through both of us,” Merrifield said.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” she claimed. “Kyle wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was the kindest, most wholesome, kindhearted, giving soul you’d ever meet. And anyone who’s ever met him would say he same exact thing.”
Records show that Needham had a lengthy criminal history including drug and property crimes and had two convictions for evading police.
So how did the actual scenario go down? We’ll have to wait and see how investigators determine the sequence of events. It is unclear if either dash cam or body cam video caught the shooting on camera.