LEWISTON — A local man suspected of stealing a handgun from a residence Monday morning was arrested at a downtown apartment building after a nearly seven-hour standoff with police, officials said.
Scott Andrew Estes, 37, of Lewiston was taken into custody by police at 6:20 p.m. more than seven hours after he barricaded himself in an apartment at 287 Bates St., Lewiston police Lt. Dave St. Pierre said. A firearm was recovered, the officer said.
Estes was being held on multiple warrants at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Monday night, a jailer said.
He is charged with theft by unauthorized taking (firearm), criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and probation revocation from a preexisting warrant, St. Pierre said in a news release.
The incident began around 9 a.m. with a report to police of a small caliber pistol being taken from a Lewiston residence, police said. As a precaution, nearby Lewiston High School, Lewiston Regional Technical Center, The Green Ladle culinary school and Martel Elementary School, all on East Avenue, were locked down from about noon to 1:30 p.m.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the suspect was seen running into the apartment building on Bates Street, prompting police to cordon off the neighborhood and bring in the Maine State Police Tactical Team, St. Pierre said.
Lewiston and Maine State Police were assisted by members of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office to safeguard surrounding streets and alleyways.
Laura Wynands and her husband said they live in the building across the street from the Bates Street apartment building with their daughter and went outside to see what was happening.
“I was wondering what they were doing,” Laura said. “There were four or five cops around and then suddenly a lot of undercover cops cars and cruisers were here.”
She said a few hours later they blocked off all the streets and told her a man had stolen a gun and ran into the building at 287 Bates St.
“I took my daughter to get a jacket this morning and when I came back a detective said she couldn’t come outside because of the severity of the situation,” Laura said.
“All over a stolen gun,” her husband said.
A high school student who did not give her name said during the lockdown they were really worried because they thought maybe there would be a shooting.
“It’s getting worse, it’s scary,” she said.
Police said there were no threats directed to the schools or any reason to believe students or staff were ever in any danger.
Assistant Superintendent Shawn Chabot said the high school was locked down “because police advised it. There’s nothing inside the building (that is a threat). Kids are staying in their classrooms.” Police were on the premises, he said.
A notice from the school to parents and staff said: “We are in a lockdown at Lewiston High School. There has been a report of a threat outside of the school. There are no safety concerns inside the school. Lewiston Police Department is conducting a sweep of our area to make sure the grounds are safe.”
The notice requested people not to come to the school at that time.
Seth Hutchinson, 17, was in his automotive technology classroom Monday at Lewiston Regional Technical Center when the lockdown announcement came over the intercom.
For hundreds of high school students it meant they didn’t eat.
“Everybody in LRTC did not eat today,” Hutchinson said. “That’s a lot of kids. They could have handled that better . . . they should have found a way to get us food. We were starving.”
High School Principal Jake Langlais said as soon as he was made aware of the situation, “we moved kids in the cafeteria to safer locations away from windows. That resulted in some not finishing their lunch.”
Langlais said he addressed students over the intercom.
“I told students, ‘I need you to get to the nearest classroom and follow lockdown procedures.’ I did tell them this was a real threat on the outside of the campus. There were no threats on our building. I wanted the students to know there were police surrounding the area. We were going to be safe.”
Langlais said, “There certainly was some anxiety. People knew this was real and not a drill.”
Classes were dismissed at 2 p.m. as usual, but after-school activities were called off, Langlais said.
He said he updated students at 1:40 and at 1:55 p.m.
“I shared that the Lewiston Police Department had isolated the threat, there was no longer a situation about safety on our campus,” Langlais said.
He said parents were sent emails or voicemails and he tweeted about the lockdown.
“With a fast-moving situation, we try to make sure everyone is safe,” he said. “It’s worth noting that if we don’t have updated information our system won’t be able to reach them.”