AUBURN — A Lewiston man who police said was armed when he threatened two men in a fast-food restaurant last year was indicted on a felony charge Monday.

An Androscoggin County grand jury indicted William Panzino, 28, of 50 West Bates St. on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. He also was charged with threatening display of a weapon, a Class D misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail.

Police said Panzino made a threat involving a gun.

He and Joshua Baldwin, 28, of Highland Avenue were inside a Burger King restaurant on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Police said Baldwin shoved one of the two men who had been sitting nearby, eating their meals.

The altercation occurred at about 12:45 p.m. Nov. 22, 2016, police said, as Ayub Sharlot and Abdinasir Mohamed were eating lunch.

Panzino and Baldwin sat two booths away, police wrote in an affidavit. Baldwin and Panzino began making comments about Mohamed and Sharlot, police said.

Baldwin made eye contact with Sharlot and asked how his meal was. Sharlot said his meal was fine. When Sharlot asked Baldwin how his meal was, Baldwin replied that his meal was good because he didn’t have to sell crack to pay for it, according to the affidavit.

Sharlot and Mohamed told police that Baldwin and Panzino continued to make comments about Sharlot and Mohamed not having fathers.

Sharlot stood up and confronted Baldwin, asking why he had a problem with them, the affidavit stated.

“Baldwin gets up and takes a step forward and shoves Sharlot violently,” the affidavit states. “Sharlot does not retaliate but the two groups exchange words. The altercation leads to threats by Panzino and a firearm being involved by Panzino.” 

According to testimony in 8th District Court in Lewiston, Panzino was carrying a gun at the time of the dispute, although it was not clear if he displayed the weapon. Police said they reviewed footage from Burger King surveillance cameras as part of their investigation.

Assistant District Attorney Kate Bozeman said of Baldwin’s role in the incident, “It also appears this is potentially racially motivated” and that the case would be referred to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation as a possible hate crime.

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William Panzino

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