A Groton firefighter who killed himself on the UConn-Avery Point campus last week had been told hours earlier by police that he was the target of an investigation into complaints he had sexual contact with teen boys at the gym he owned.
City of Groton Deputy Police Chief Thomas Davoren confirmed Thursday that multiple police departments were looking into the complaints against Timothy Devine, who owned the CrossFit Groton gym.
Davoren said the allegations involved only Devine. He would not comment further.
A source familiar with the investigation said that police had started investigating the day before Devine killed himself on July 23. The source said at least three victims, 16-18 years old, came forward to police.
A detective contacted Devine and told him about the allegations and tried to arrange an interview. At about 5 p.m., a few hours after the initial contact with Devine, police received a report of a despondent man with a weapon.
Police determined that Devine had gone to the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus by tracing his cellphone. They found it in his car around 10 p.m. in the campus parking lot.
A short time later, state police have said, officers found Devine standing on rocks. He was armed with a handgun and would not drop it, they said. At times, he waved the weapon.
The state police tactical team and hostage negotiators were called to the scene. A trooper and a local officer talked to Devine for more than four hours trying to get him to put down the weapon, but he refused.
The state police SWAT team fired bean bag ammunition and used "flash-bang" grenades in attempts to get Devine to give up. But around 4 a.m. Devine threw the cellphone away and shot himself. His death was ruled a suicide by the state medical examiner's office.
The state police Eastern District Crime Squad is still investigating the case and a final report will be turned over to New London State's Attorney Michael Regan.
Devine, 30, owned the CrossFit Groton gym on Bridge Street in Groton. Devine wrote on his Facebook page that he got hooked on the CrossFit method of fitness training after he tried it through a co-worker at the firehouse.
Devine was a firefighter with the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District for four years. He was buried earlier this week, with firefighters from all over the area attending.
The gym has been closed since Devine's death.
Dale Saran, general counsel for CrossFit, said the company does not require a background check but "we do have a process through which people become CrossFit affiliates [that] includes a personal essay."
"We've toyed with the question of whether it should be a necessity for a CrossFit owner to go through a background check," he said. "We've had very few incidents in 4,500 affiliates. It's horrible if there's any truth to the allegations." ..Source.. by DAVE ALTIMARI and Beau Berman and Anthony DiLorenzo