Armed man sets trailer ablaze

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AUBURN – A Samantha Lane man was arrested late Tuesday and charged with threatening neighbors, aiming a gun at police and setting a fire inside his trailer.

David Surette, 42, was arrested after police from three departments responded and an officer used a taser to subdue the suspect as fire burned through his trailer.

Police said Surette had been menacing his neighbors throughout the evening, threatening to shoot them or beat them with a baseball bat.

When officers first began to investigate, there were reports that Surette had run off behind his home at JaLynne Mobile Home Park with a gun.

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Lewiston police officer Eric Syphers was sent to the area with his dog at about 10:30 p.m. to help track the suspect through the cluster of trailers off Turner Road.

When Syphers arrived, he joined Auburn police Lt. Gary Boulet in approaching Surette’s trailer at 70 Samantha Lane. Moments later, Syphers saw the suspect behind the windows of his home carrying a gun.

Police said Surette lifted the weapon and aimed it at the officers when they neared his windows. The weapon later proved to be a pellet gun.

Syphers attempted to get a clear shot with his taser, a handheld device that fires coiled wires at a suspect, and subdue him with an electrical shot. It was not immediately clear if Surette was struck by the taser.

Police said that before or during the confrontation, Surette had set items inside his trailer on fire. As smoke rolled from the building, police burst through the door and tackled the suspect.

Fire crews, meanwhile, rushed in once Surette was in custody and made quick work of the fire. A firefighter rescued a kitten from Surette’s home and brought it to a neighbor.

Surette was still being booked late Tuesday night at the Androscoggin County Jail. Police said he was expected to face criminal threatening, arson and other charges.

At least one officer from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office went to the scene after it was learned the suspect was believed to be armed and on the loose.

Several people who live at JaLynne said they did not know what led to the commotion at the trailer park. They were roused by the sirens of fire trucks and police cruisers. Others said Surette was a frequent source of trouble and that they were relieved he was removed from the neighborhood Tuesday night.

It was not immediately clear what led to the dispute between Surette and his neighbors.

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