Auburn standoff ends peacefully

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AUBURN — Police from three agencies went to North River Road on Thursday night after being told a suicidal man had guns inside the house.

Police negotiated with the man for more than three hours before the standoff ended at about 9:30 p.m. The man was taken into custody and brought to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston for evaluation. No shots were fired.

At 6 p.m., the first Auburn police officers arrived in the area of 531 North River Road. Within minutes, police made contact by phone with the man inside, said to be in his mid 50s.

The man refused to come outside, police said. He was not identified.

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No shots were fired, although the man was said to have a shotgun and at least one rifle inside the house, which sits in a wooded stretch between Bradman Street and Stetson Road.

Police set up a perimeter around the house while maintaining contact with the man.

Neighbors said the man had been depressed in recent days because of business and family issues. Early reports were that he had been drinking throughout the day on Thursday and also taking painkillers.

While the number of police at the scene grew, several dogs barked almost nonstop on the property. A neighbor said the man who lives there kept black Labrador retrievers. He also said the man has a wife, grown children and grandchildren, although there was no indication that those family members were at home when the standoff began.

Police said little at the scene, other than that they were trying to convince the troubled man to come outside. As darkness fell at about 8:15 p.m., the standoff continued, with nearly a dozen police cruisers lighting up the dark stretch of road.

A mobile police command center had arrived on scene at 7 p.m. Maine State Police officers began to arrive soon after, including a pair of negotiators.

The house at the center of the standoff sits near the Androscoggin River, with no neighboring homes in view. As police continued to speak to the man, several people drove up on the scene. Most were people who live nearby and were curious about the presence of so many emergency vehicles.

An older woman drove up at about 7:30 p.m., trying to deliver her grandchildren to their home on the farthest end of North River Road. She was unable to pass through and had to find an alternative route.

One neighbor described the troubled man as a “nice guy” ; a taxidermist who had only recently returned to Auburn after leaving the state for a while.

No charges were filed.

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