Knife-wielding man holds off police

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FARMINGTON – A state police tactical team Friday morning ended a five-hour standoff by forcibly taking a Farmington man from his ex-girlfriend’s downtown apartment, where he had barricaded himself and was holding a knife to his throat.

The tactical team used a stun grenade, a device that makes a loud noise with a bright flash, to distract Matthew McLarnon, 25, of Broadway, and rushed into the apartment at 112 Church St. and subdued him without injury, police said.

McLarnon resisted arrest, Farmington police Lt. Jack Peck said, and was taken in a Farmington police cruiser to Franklin Memorial Hospital for evaluation, Peck said.

A warrant had been drawn up while a Maine State Police tactical team set up, and hostage negotiation officers tried to talk McLarnon out of the apartment.

Once he is released from the hospital, he will be charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of felony aggravated criminal trespassing, Peck said.

The ordeal started at 5:30 a.m., when police received a 911 call from a woman in the apartment, which is across from the Franklin County Children’s Task Force and beside the Franklin County Courthouse.

The woman and McLarnon had had an on-again, off-again relationship for about six months and had broken up officially three weeks ago, Peck said.

McLarnon, who still had a key, let himself into her apartment about 4:30 a.m., he said.

The woman and a new boyfriend whom McLarnon didn’t know about were in the apartment when he entered. The woman asked McLarnon to leave, police said.

A verbal argument ensued in the kitchen, with the woman refusing McLarnon’s request to get back together, Peck said.

When he wouldn’t leave after being asked, the woman went to get her cordless phone, at which point, McLarnon told her if she called police, he would kill himself, Peck said.

McLarnon then reached for a large kitchen knife, the officer said.

When the man and woman saw him go for the knife, they also both grabbed for it, Peck said. McLarnon ended up pushing the new boyfriend and the woman, he said.

The woman went into the bedroom to call police, but McLarnon, who is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 280 pounds, followed and blockaded the door, leaving the new boyfriend in the kitchen, Peck said.

McLarnon, who has a long history of depression, according to Peck, held the knife to his throat and threatened suicide if she called police.

The woman was able to climb out a window onto a porch and got help from Farmington police officer Ed Hastings to get down, Peck said. Once her boyfriend knew she was OK, he also fled the apartment, leaving McLarnon alone on the second floor.

At that point, police from the University of Maine at Farmington, Wilton and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department responded to help Farmington.

County Detective Tom White, a hostage negotiator, made contact with McLarnon at 6:35 a.m.

“We continued to talk to him until about 10:45 a.m.,” Peck said, when state police finally went in.

Ron Gelinas, owner of Mainestone Jewelry on Broadway, who was watching the situation unfold, said he hadn’t seen hostage situations or someone barricaded in a building in town before.

“You never figure it in a small town, but we’re not immune,” he said.

Just after 10:30 a.m., there was a noise that sounded like two small explosions, and someone could be heard yelling, “Put down the knife.”

In a matter of minutes, police had McLarnon in the back of the police vehicle, and the situation defused without injury.

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