LEWISTON — A report of gunshots fired on Spruce Street on Friday brought police and a crowd of onlookers to the edge of Kennedy Park.
Police with rifles swarmed the area near Spruce and Knox streets, contending with a growing crowd and with conflicting reports about what had transpired.
Some witnesses suggested a man fired a shot from a gun at about 4 p.m. before slipping into a nearby tenement. Others insisted it was only a pellet gun or perhaps a toy.
Police, on the other hand, said it was a real firearm and it had been fired near Kennedy Park. Unlike the witnesses, police offered proof of their version — video footage taken from one of the city cameras mounted on downtown rooftops.
Stephen Parker, 25, who was visiting from Alabama, was charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
The reckless conduct charge, police said, stems from Parker's firing of the handgun on a crowded section of Spruce Street.
"It was 10 after 4 p.m. on a nice, sunny day," said Lewiston police Lt. Brian O'Malley. "It's unbelievable how many people were out there."
Parker was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, police said, because of the manner in which he tried to hide the gun inside an apartment. They did not elaborate on that charge.
Police who responded focused on a pair of apartment houses near the intersection of Spruce and Knox. While several officers secured the buildings from the sidewalk, others began to search the narrow cluster of stairways between 47 Spruce St. and a neighboring tenement.
After about a half-hour, Parker was brought out of an apartment in handcuffs. As he was led to the police station, a group of onlookers jeered as they stood near the skateboard park.
For more than a year, police have used high-resolution video cameras perched in several locations throughout the city, including the City Hall clock tower, the top of the Oak Street parking garage and the roof of the Central Fire Station.
Police reviewed footage from the Spruce Street incident and said they could clearly see the gun being discharged. The weapon was later recovered from the apartment in which Parker was found, police said.
Parker was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn where he remained later Friday night.