Published May 14, 2016
PRESQUE ISLE, MAINE — Derek Sam, 29, a tribal citizen of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, based in Presque Isle, Maine, died on Tuesday as the result of being shot by Presque Isle Police Officer Lucas Hafford last Saturday, May 7, 2016.
According to the Presque Isle Police Department, Sam allegedly approached Officer Hafford with a knife and the officer shot him.
Below is the statement released by the Preque Isle Police Department on Sunday, May 8:
On May 7, 2016 at about 5:54 p.m., the Presque Isle Police Department responded to multiple calls regarding an individual who was reported to be acting suspiciously. One of those calls indicated that the individual, later identified as Derek J. Sam, 29, of Presque Isle, had a knife and was near the McDonald’s restaurant on Main Street. The caller also indicated the man with the knife appeared to be bleeding.
Officer Lucas Hafford made contact with Mr. Sam in a parking lot near 631 Main Street in Presque Isle.
During an armed confrontation with Mr. Sam and, after failing to comply with Officer Hafford’s instructions to drop the knife, Officer Hafford deployed his TASER in an effort to stop Mr. Sam from approaching him with the knife. The TASER was ineffective. Mr. Sam, still armed with the knife, continued to aggressively approach Officer Hafford who, after several more commands to stop and drop the knife, shot and wounded Mr. Sam.
Mr. Sam was immediately transported to The Aroostook Medical Center for treatment and then life flighted to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
The Office of the Attorney General is investigating the use of deadly force.
Members of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs have been burning a sacred fire to honor Sam.
“Anytime we lose a member, it’s really hard on the overall tribe because we are a family,” Tribal Chief Edward Peterpaul told a local Maine television station.
Sam was the father of three children, ages 2, 8 and 11, who survive him.