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Concord homeless man seen under train hours before it killed him

  • In this photo taken the day he died, Shaune Milligan, second from left, holds a cigarette. <br/>He is joined by Stretch, far left, Bryan and Craig both giving the peace sign.<br/>(DAN CURRY / For the Monitor)

    In this photo taken the day he died, Shaune Milligan, second from left, holds a cigarette.
    He is joined by Stretch, far left, Bryan and Craig both giving the peace sign.
    (DAN CURRY / For the Monitor)

  • Mug shot of Shaune Milligan

    Mug shot of Shaune Milligan

  • The building off of Storrs Street where Shaune Milligan was living before being arrested and thrown out.<br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

    The building off of Storrs Street where Shaune Milligan was living before being arrested and thrown out.


    (GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

  • The area behind Sal's Pizza near 80 Storrs Street where the homeless<br/>man Shaune Milligan, 49, died last week.<br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

    The area behind Sal's Pizza near 80 Storrs Street where the homeless
    man Shaune Milligan, 49, died last week.


    (GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

  • In this photo taken the day he died, Shaune Milligan, second from left, holds a cigarette. <br/>He is joined by Stretch, far left, Bryan and Craig both giving the peace sign.<br/>(DAN CURRY / For the Monitor)
  • Mug shot of Shaune Milligan
  • The building off of Storrs Street where Shaune Milligan was living before being arrested and thrown out.<br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)
  • The area behind Sal's Pizza near 80 Storrs Street where the homeless<br/>man Shaune Milligan, 49, died last week.<br/><br/><br/>(GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff)

As word officially broke yesterday about the death of Shaune Milligan, a 49-year-old Concord homeless man whose body was found Saturday on the train tracks near Storrs Street, it hardly seemed news to the population he had for years called his own.

No one had heard from Milligan recently, and his name had been circulating ever since the police reported the unidentified find Saturday, acquaintances and homeless volunteers said.

Speculation had already turned to the tougher questions: how and why had he died.

One woman said she heard he had been stabbed and thrown onto the tracks. Another said he had fallen asleep and been run over by a rail car. Others insisted he had drunkenly crawled under a parked train and had passed out before reaching the other side.

Dan Curry, a local photographer who has been shooting Milligan and other homeless men in the area, said he visited the group Friday afternoon and found them gathered under the train, drinking beers and trying to stay dry.

“I told them, ‘You guys are crazy,’ ” he said. “And they said, ‘If it starts to move, we’ll just get out of the way.’ ”

The police said yesterday that an investigation was ongoing, but that an autopsy showed that Milligan had been struck or otherwise impacted by a train sometime late Friday night. Lt. Timothy O’Malley, a spokesman, said there were no signs of prior assaults or other factors.

“Nothing that we can find yet that would indicate foul play,” he said.

A train carrying military vehicles and other supplies had been parked behind Market Basket for several hours Friday night, and O’Malley

said investigators were looking into whether Milligan had climbed under it on his own accord. Toxicology results, which would show whether he was inebriated at the time, were still pending. No eyewitnesses had come forward to the police as of yesterday.

O’Malley declined to comment on the state of the body when the police arrived on scene about 11:45 a.m., after receiving at least one 911 call. Larry Knight, a homeless veteran who camps a few yards away and was a friend of Milligan’s, said authorities had to carry the corpse out in two large black bags.

“He was the nicest guy,” Knight said. “He loved to drink.”

Milligan was arrested for trespassing in the area last month, O’Malley said. An officer on bike patrol found him and a few others in a small abandoned railroad building adjacent to the state Liquor Commission’s administrative office, at 50 Storrs St. O’Malley said the company that owns the building, Pan Am Railways, boarded it up this spring because it was unsafe and had become a popular homeless refuge.

Cynthia Scarano, executive vice president of Pan Am Railways, said the company doesn’t generally install fencing along the tracks unless abutters request it.

“It doesn’t tend to work,” she said. People “just cut the fence and the fence itself becomes a nuisance.”

The tracks along Storrs Street are used sparingly these days, but the New Hampshire National Guard has been shipping equipment recently on them to Michigan for a massive training exercise. Spokesman Greg Heilshorn said he had been told, though, that their last shipment had departed early last week.

Knight said Milligan used to camp near him, in a narrow wooded corridor between the tracks and the commission building. He said they and three others often gathered across the tracks and drank off an old wooden cable spool, referred to as “the table.”

Milligan was a good friend and a generous person, Knight said. The kind of guy who, “if he had the last two drinks, he’d share one with you.”

Others offered similar descriptions, but stressed that Milligan was a serious alcoholic and used drugs, including heroin, spice and prescription painkillers, when he could get them.

“Shaune was a big drinker,” said a homeless man who gave only his first name, Nick. “He liked to drink, especially on warm days.”

“He had a problem with alcohol,” Curry acknowledged. “But that doesn’t make him a bad person.”

Curry said he met Milligan in February and had become friends with him in the months since, meeting regularly to talk or take photographs. Milligan was from New Hampshire and spoke at times about his mother, who is still alive, Curry said. He never mentioned having any children.

Milligan had undergone several partial amputations over the years, Curry said, a result of his homelessness. He had only three toes left at the time of his death.

“He had a hard time getting around,” Curry said.

Curry said it was only by chance that he saw Milligan on Friday. He said he hadn’t heard from him in a few weeks. When he found him there he climbed under the train and spent a few minutes with the group. It was one of those rare moments, Curry said, when Milligan wasn’t drunk.

He added, “I just wish I could have spent more time with him.”

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

in reply to dirtylarry post of 7-9-14 the bottom line is as bruce brody rightly stated in his post alcoholism is at fault as well as being homeless. and more should be done to help people with these situations . I of course do not nor did not know dan curry and shaune milligan however I am pretty sure as a friend dan would have tried to help mr. milligan with his issues.. and am sure as a friend dan did. however I believe in the end the alcohol issues won .. the fault is alcohol no one else is to blame.. we can all say shaune is in a better place now.. dirtylarry glad you had good time in Milwaukee perhaps if in the area again I will buy you a drink (Pepsi cola)

Been to Old Milwaukee, the city and the discount beer of same name, many times, cheesehead; but not for quite awhile on either account. I don't drink anything stronger than coffee these days, so I'll pass on your kind offer of a free Pepsi. I just can't do soft drinks anymore. As far as the Milligan/Curry friendship goes, and your admission of knowing neither party, you thereby really can't be "sure" of anything in this regard. Alcoholism. That's a tough one. I am no Dr Phil, but suppose most all of us know people who have successfully arrested the disease. Crawled from the wreckage, if you will. All such survivors that I know of were/are very glad they had the willpower to embark/endure. My point is, with all due respect to its alleged congenital ties, alcoholism also has a voluntary element to it. That is, some people welcome its presence like a beautiful hitchhiker in the passenger's seat on a cross-country road trip. They don't want to quit drinking. I sense we may differ on this matter, but I don't see all alcoholics as helpless victims, wrapped up in the lethal clutches of some liquid boa constrictor. None of alcoholism's survivors whom I have known, has ever subdued that disease without trying. Some drinkers simply don't want to stop. The honest ones will even tell you so.

reply to dirty larry; I agree with you on one thing YES IF THE NHNG HAD ASSIGNED a few guards mr. milligan would probably be alive today.. the rest of my comment I stand by.. also this cheesehead is from concord lived there a great part of my life.-fyi. and yes I realize you referred to cheesehead because it refers to Wisconsin ..

Be thankful, cheesehead. I could've called you a 'brat'. Best brat I ever had was at County Stadium in Milwaukee. It was loaded up sauerkraut. Washed it down with at least one 'Old Style'...yum. After the game, I mingled with the German-American girls downtown at the Oktoberfest...yum, again. Back on point, I have to wonder if Dan Curry's friendship went deep enough to advise Shaune to find a safer refuge for beer guzzling? Not saying this was Dan's fault. Nor am I saying it was the fault of the NHNG. Mr Milligan made his own choices. Yet it remains that things might've turned out differently for Shaune, 'with just a little help from his friends'. Poster 'bruce_brody' is correct, of course. Alcoholism kills. What a shame that Shaune couldn't have gotten a handle on his disease before this tragic event took his life.

Perhaps if the government was more concerned with fighting alcoholism rather then wars these kinds of unfortunate deaths would not happen. Bottom line, alcohol a legal drug kills.

in reply to dirty larrys comment of 7-8-14. you sir are very cold hearted a man lost his life and you worry about the nhng vehilces also dan curry was a friend of mr. milligan that sir is why dan wished he had spent more time with mr. milligan and to refer that dan would end up as an alicoholic because he was a friend of mr. milligan is an assigan statement . you sir need to seek help as you have serious issues .

Easy does it, cheesehead. Don't you think Shaune Milligan would still be alive today, if the NHNG had posted a least a couple of soldiers to guard these railcars? Maybe even just one? Of course he would, because the homeless would not have been allowed to appropriate any of them as their temporary beer garden. Guess I should've spelled it out, for the sake of at least one individual, but figured any reasonable person could connect those dots. As far as Dan Curry goes, I found his quote to be a little too syrupy, bordering on irreverence, given the gravity of events here. So, in my estimation, if any one is guilty of making an "asinine" statement, it is Dan Curry.

I saw the military vehicles on the siding under 393 as late as Thursday I believe last week. I also wondered why equipment as expensive as that was sitting unprotected.

There were railcars, chock-full of military vehicles, on those tracks all last week, right up through this weekend, running all the way out to Horseshoe Pond. Saw them as late as Sunday. So, it appears 'spokesman' Greg Heilshorn may've been given misinformation about the last shipment departing "early last week". Interestingly, I never saw a single guard anywhere near those vehicles on the tracks...not a one...during the several days they occupied the area. Never. I found that very odd, given the millions of dollars sitting on those tracks (tires alone on the vehicle in pic above can run well over $1000/per, according to a Goodyear rep). Seems the NHNG must've had the personnel available, and obviously had a vested interest to ensure their equipment wasn't vandalized. I don't get the part about Dan Curry wishing "he could have spent more time" with Shaune Milligan. Is Mr Curry implying he could have cured him? More likely Dan would end up in a future Monitor photo, having a cold one with the boys on the tracks.

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