MINOT – Police negotiated with a suicidal man for nearly four hours Friday before the 44-year-old agreed to come out of his Pottle Hill Road home.
Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department officials said Raymond Berube never threatened police or anyone else during the standoff, but had suggested he might harm himself.
The drama began about 2 p.m. when Berube’s wife called police to say her estranged husband had threatened to kill himself, police said.
“She had talked with him on the phone. He was drinking heavily and he indicated he might harm himself if his wife or the police showed up at the house,” Sheriff Guy Desjardins said. “He didn’t commit any criminal violations.”
Police said that while Berube was believed to have a rifle in the house, he never threatened anybody with it.
Police went to the end of Pottle Hill Road near Millett Road but kept a distance. Sheriff’s Sgt. Rielly Bryant, also the department negotiator, talked with Berube several times by calling him on the phone.
“Mr. Berube hung up on him several times,” Desjardins said. “But Rielly was very persistent. He made numerous phone calls and knew what to say and when to say it.”
During the standoff, sheriff’s officials kept sections of Pottle Hill and Millett roads blocked to traffic. They worked from their cruisers and from a command vehicle sent by Lewiston police.
About 5:30 p.m., Berube agreed to come outside where police were waiting.
“He came out willingly. He’s not being charged with anything,” Desjardins said. “We’re just taking him into protective custody. He has been drinking heavily so we’ll take him to the hospital to be looked over.”
Police said Berube and his wife recently separated, and he had been depressed.
Linda Kinney and her family live on the corner of Pottle Hill and Millett roads, next to Berube. Kinney, reached by cell phone while she was visiting family in Houlton, said: “My husband and my son were asked to leave by the state police. I really don’t know any more than somebody’s got a shotgun and threatening to do bodily harm to themselves.”
According to Kinney, police told her husband, who was alone in the house, they “strongly suggest that he leave” the home.
Berube and his wife moved into their trailer recently, Kinney said.
“They’re very new people. They’ve just moved there. I bet we’ve only talked to them a total of two or three times,” she said.
Other neighbors said they could see the police activity from their homes, but they had no idea what was unfolding.
Mona Bergeron, who lives on Millett Road, said: “The road’s blocked coming all three ways. There were cops probably spanning a half-mile from one end of the road, the middle part of the road.”