LEWISTON — Armed police surrounded an apartment building at 11 Sylvan Ave. on Thursday after learning an armed man had assaulted a woman with a handgun there. 

Lewiston police respond to an armed man assaulting a woman at 11 Sylvan Ave. on Thursday. The suspect, Deon Izayah Sands of Auburn, remained at large later Thursday, police said. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Three hours later, the house was found to be empty and the search continued for 20-year-old Deon Izayah Sands, an Auburn man wanted on assault and weapons charges. 

Later Thursday, police said Sands has an extensive criminal record and is believed to be armed. They advised that nobody should try to apprehend him if spotted. 

The drama began shortly after 11:30 a.m. when a caller reported that a man with a handgun was making threats and was possibly at that address and refusing to come out of the building, Lt. David St. Pierre said. 

Police attempted to communicate by bullhorn with Sands before learning that he had fled.

“We’re trying to make negotiations with people inside and make sure everybody’s safe and clear the neighborhood and keep the neighborhood safe as well,” St. Pierre said at the time. 

By late Thursday afternoon, police around the area were still searching for Sands, who is wanted on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated assault and violating conditions of release. 

Deon Izayah Sands Lewiston police

Additionally, police said, Sands is wanted on previously issued warrants charging robbery, assault and failure to appear on a charge of domestic assault. 

He is described as 6 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 175 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and tattoos on both forearms and the top of his right hand. 

Police said Sands has ties to people in Lewiston, Auburn and Portland. 

Police are asking that anyone with information about his whereabouts call them at 784-6421 or that they dial 911. 

“Do not try to approach him,” police stressed in their new release. 

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