Mistaken identity? Young men assault Canadian in Fort Kent
FORT KENT – In the early morning hours on Friday, July 27, three young adults assaulted a Montreal man as he was jogging along a street in Fort Kent.
The victim, who police have declined to identify, had never seen the assailants before, though he said they spoke with the distinctive local accent, according to Fort Kent Police Officer Dalen Boucher.
The victim, a Canadian attending the University of Maine at Fort Kent, was running “the mills” (a local term for a popular aerobic walking/jogging circuit) in Fort Kent late Thursday night into Friday morning when three men in a full-sized dark SUV drove by. The windows were down and the men called the student several names.
Boucher said the car passed the man, and then the driver whipped the car around, stopping in the middle of the street and shining the headlights at the victim.
Three men exited the vehicle and assaulted the student with their fists. The assailants left the victim with face and head injuries. Afterwards, the men climbed back in their SUV and drove off.
Police have eliminated race or a prejudice against sexual orientation as a motivation. Investigators suspect it may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Officer Boucher said the assault was unique in his career.
“I’ve been here 26 years and I’ve never seen that. To stop and bail out of a car and beat you up?”
He said there is always a reason behind an assault.
“Either it was mistaken identity, or people are just getting pretty stupid,” said Boucher.
Because of the blinding glare from the headlights, the victim was able to provide only scant details to police. The men appeared young, in their late teens or twenties. He described two of the three men as large. The biggest man was the first to attack. The victim described him as 6’2”, heavyset at 215 pounds. Boucher said the victim may have been able to strike the man in defense, possibly leaving a mark on his face.
The second suspect is approximately 6’1”, 190 pounds and had a bearded goatee.
The third man was shorter, at 5’10”, 190 pounds, and he was wearing a baseball cap.
Boucher cautions that an assault victim’s recollection of the size of their attackers is often exaggerated, and the men may actually be shorter than the description.
According to police, the larger men were the primary attackers.
The men were wearing t-shirts and blue jeans.
The victim went home after the assault and only reported the crime Friday afternoon, at the urging of his girlfriend.
Other students described the victim as quiet and a focused student athlete who “doesn’t bother anyone.”
The victim looked through recent Fort Kent Community High School yearbooks, but was unable to identify his assailants from the pictures. The suspects may be from out of town, though Boucher said they apparently had the distinctive St. John Valley accent.
Police speculated that the SUV, which the victim described as dark and full-sized, may belong to the parents of one of the suspects.
“It might have been Mom or Dad’s car,” said Boucher.
Police are asking anyone with possible information about the crime to call 834-5678 and speak to an officer.
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