Ronald Cyr, 65, died from his wounds on Thanksgiving night in Van Buren, Maine, after a booby-trapped handgun set up in his home shot him, according to a statement posted on Facebook by Van Buren police. Cyr had rigged a device in his home that was designed to fire a handgun at anyone who entered the house through the front door, according to the statement.
The handgun booby trap was one of only several devices found in Cyr’s home by police investigators. Though the police statement did not specify the nature of the other devices, it said that investigators found them “alarming” and as a result, called in the Maine State Police Bomb Squad.
Cyr himself phoned the 911 emergency line to report that he had been shot, though apparently he did not explain to the 911 operator the circumstances of his shooting.
“Regretfully, Mr. Cyr succumbed to the injuries sustained from the gunshot,” a police spokesperson said, as quoted by ABC News.
Maine has liberal gun control laws, even allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. One other New England state, Vermont, also allows “concealed carry” without a special permit, though New Hampshire in 2015 passed a bill to allow the practice. The state’s governor, however, vetoed the legislation.
What motivated Cyr to rig his home with deadly booby traps remains a mystery. Van Buren, Maine, is a low-crime area. According to statistics posted by Area Vibes, in 2017 the small town of just 2,000 residents reported zero incidents of violent crime and only 15 incidents of property crimes. That is the equivalent of just 725 crimes per 100,000 people compared to a national United States average of 2,756 reported crimes per 100,000 people.
Those figures make Van Buren safer than 92 percent of all cities in the United States, while the overall crime rate in the town decreased by 50 percent from the previous year.
Only one of the property crimes reported in Van Buren in 2017 was a burglary, making what appears to be Cyr’s fear of intruders even more puzzling.
The U.S. Border Patrol was also involved in the investigation into Cyr’s death, according to the police statement. The town of Van Buren is located in northeastern Maine, on the border with New Brunswick, Canada.
How Cyr set off the handgun booby trap was also left unclear by police, though according to unconfirmed reports, the Van Buren man was shot when he entered his home through the front door.
On the Van Buren Police Facebook page, local residents remembered Cyr as a “great guy,” and “one great man” who “didn’t deserve going out this way.”