CAMDEN — An all-night armed standoff at a downtown pharmacy ended with a hostage released unharmed and the suspect found dead from an apparent suicide.

The suspect in the hostage taking and standoff was identified by Camden Police Chief Randy Gagne as Robert Beerman, 44, of Camden. Beerman’s body was discovered by members of the Maine State Police tactical team when they entered the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 3 a.m. Tuesday. He was found in an employee break room in the back of the store, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, the Camden chief said.

The incident began about 7:30 p.m. when a man, later identified as Beerman, reportedly went into the store at 35 Elm St. carrying a sawed-off shotgun. He ordered all employees except for one pharmacist to leave.

Police from Camden, Rockport, Rockland, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police, along with personnel from the Maine state fire marshal’s office and an FBI agent, soon were at the scene. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody also was at the scene at one point early Tuesday morning.

Route 1 in Camden was blocked off from the intersection near the Stop & Go to slightly north of the intersection with Bay View Street.

Shortly before midnight, the pharmacist was released unharmed. Gagne said police were interviewing her but could not say whether Beerman was trying to obtain drugs.


The police chief said officers could see the suspect through the windows in the Elm Street pharmacy and were able to identify him as Beerman.

Beerman had been arrested last month and charged with a burglary at Cuzzy’s Restaurant on nearby Bay View Street. He later was released on $750 bail.

On Monday night, after identifying Beerman, police obtained an arrest warrant.

An armored state vehicle with a battering ram in the front knocked down the front door of the pharmacy. State police then repeatedly tried to contact Beerman, saying, “Robbie, you are under arrest. Come out with your hands up.”

There was no response, and at about 3 a.m., the tactical team went into the pharmacy and reportedly found him dead.

The standoff drew people watching the drama as well as others who were not able to get back to vehicles that had been parked on Elm Street.

Jim and Barbara Thomas of Fredericksburg, Texas, said they were having dinner at the Hartstone Restaurant, next to the Rite Aid, and when they were ready to leave they were ushered through the restaurant out the back because of the standoff.

They remained watching the standoff for the next few hours.

There have been four robberies at the Camden Rite-Aid in 2011 and 2012. Just last month, a woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison for one of those robberies.

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