LEWISTON, Maine — A Lewiston man who rolled a pig’s head into a local mosque last summer, touching off tensions in minority communities in the city and beyond, shot and killed himself in a parking lot after a brief standoff with police, authorities said.

According to Lewiston police Sgt. Michael Whalen, 34-year-old Brent Matthews committed suicide after police tried to persuade him to put down a semiautomatic handgun, the Maine Sunday Telegram reported.

The shooting occurred around 8:30 a.m. Saturday off Main Street.

Matthews had been charged with a misdemeanor count of desecrating a place of worship and pleaded not guilty. State prosecutors obtained a court order to keep him away from the mosque.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston reported that Matthews phoned 911 in distress at 8:14 a.m., according to police and that when officers arrived Matthews was outside his car and alone.

They tried speaking with him, but Matthews never responded. After just a few minutes, he raised a handgun to his head and fired once, the Lewiston newspaper reported. . .

Matthews had maintained the pig’s head incident was a joke. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations contended the act was an insult upon Islam.


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