Police activity at 744 Neptune Dr. in Brunswick where police say a domestic disturbance sparked a standoff Monday. These photos were taken shortly after the standoff ended. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

BRUNSWICK — Police arrested a 39-year-old man following an 8-hour standoff Monday morning at 744 Neptune Dr. in Brunswick Landing.

Nick G. Christensen is charged with domestic violence assault, a Class D misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2,000 fine.

Armed with a rifle, Christensen allegedly sparked a standoff shortly after midnight that didn’t end until his arrest at about 8:30 a.m.

Police first went to the residence on a domestic disturbance call. Brunswick Police Cmdr. Tom Garrepy said officers were evacuating the family when an officer thought he heard the “racking of a weapon” or the loading of a gun. Police say they got the wife and child out of the complex. He didn’t have information on their condition this morning.

Police activity at 744 Neptune Dr. in Brunswick where police say a domestic disturbance sparked a standoff Monday. These photos are shortly after the standoff ended. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald

Officers evacuated everyone else in the building but not residents of neighboring homes, where most residents were sleeping.

Roadblocks were set up in the area, and the Portland and Brunswick police special response teams were at the scene.

Police told neighbors to stay in their homes and school buses didn’t make their normal stops in the area. That “shelter-in-place” order was lifted after Christensen’s arrest.

Garrepy said Christensen allegedly barricaded himself inside the home. Police tried to negotiate with him, but he didn’t answer. The tactical team used a device that creates a loud bang and flash of light to try to distract the Christensen. When that didn’t work, police fired gas canisters into the home. Christensen surrendered shortly after and was taken to Cumberland County Jail in Portland.

Garrepy said detectives would examine the apartment and seize any firearms. The incident is still under investigation and additional charges may be pending.

Julian Hidalgo was waiting out the standoff with his family in the nearby Brunswick Recreation Center parking lot. Hidalgo’s family lives in the building where the standoff happened. He woke up around 12:15 a.m. to knocking on the door and found a police officer outside. The officer told him to get dressed and get everyone out of the home. He told his wife, got his newborn and 2-year-old daughters and left with a police escort to their car.

They waited in the parking lot until they were told they had to leave. Eventually, an officer told them they could take shelter in the Brunswick Recreation Center just over a half-mile from their home.

Originally from Florida, Hidalgo said he’s been in Brunswick for about a year. While things like this happen in Miami, “Brunswick, it’s kind of safe up here so for this to happen, it was like a movie,” he said. “That’s what it is, the whole thing felt like a movie.”

Police worked with the town’s cultural broker to communicate with the dozens of asylum seekers who moved to the neighborhood over the summer, having relocated from the African nations of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many of the asylum-seekers do not speak English, so working with the cultural broker was key to making it clear that it was safer to stay inside Monday morning.

Brunswick Landing is the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. In addition to former base housing, the Landing is also home to industrial and office businesses, as well as the town’s Parks and Recreation Center, a campus for Southern Maine Community College, a Harpswell Coastal Academy campus and preschools.

A Portland Police Department tactical team arrives at Brunswick Landing to help with a police standoff at 744 Neptune Drive Monday morning. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

 


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