Livermore Falls police Lt. Joseph Sage reads a statement Tuesday about the hostage situation while Maine State Police Lt. Jason Madore, commander of Troop C, waits to speak at the Livermore Falls Police Station. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday after an autopsy determined that Donald White died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was also shot by a state trooper, but that was not the lethal shot, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office. State police used imprecise language Tuesday in describing their use of “deadly force,” leading reporters to believe that police had killed White.

LIVERMORE FALLS — A man with explosives who broke into a house early Monday and took three hostages died early Tuesday, according to Lt. Jason Madore of the Maine State Police.

Police would not confirm how Donald White, 44, of Jay was killed, other than saying officers had used “deadly force.”

All three hostages were safe, Madore said after the more-than-18-hour standoff at 48 Knapp St.

Law enforcement officers wheel a bomb disposal robot down Knapp Street on Tuesday in Livermore Falls after a hostage situation was resolved. There were multiple explosive devices still in the house at 48 Knapp St., Lt. Jason Madore of the Maine State Police said. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

White was an ex-boyfriend of Amie Smith, who lives at the house at 48 Knapp St. White once lived at the Smith family’s house, according to police.

Madore said there were still multiple explosive devices at the house, and a robot and other equipment were at the scene Tuesday afternoon, along with the state’s bomb team and special forces vehicle.


Amie Smith managed to escape from the house. Her father, Kenney Smith, 64, was the last hostage released early Tuesday. He was reunited with family members after being held for more than 18 hours, according to police.

After being released, Smith was seen getting hugs from his daughter, Amie, and other family members in a short video posted by News Center Maine.

Smith said White had used a stun gun on him. He and the others were tied up with zip ties and threatened at gunpoint, according to WMTW Channel 8 News.

“He had some kind of a gun. I don’t know what it was,” Smith said. “He took three shots. I could see powder come out of the end.”

Smith said he suffered injuries to his face, arms and leg during the standoff, according to the WMTW report.

Police said they have responded to the house several times in the past for domestic violence matters, according to Livermore Falls Police Chief Ernest Steward Jr.


The officer who used deadly force has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, according to Madore.

The Office of the Maine Attorney General is investigating the cause and manner of White’s death, Madore said. He declined to release the officer’s name, the department for which the officer works and the hostages’ names.

David Blais, who lives at 60 Knapp St., said as he sat at his house Tuesday morning, he heard a loud noise that apparently came from a car parked on the street near the scene.

“Today, I was sitting here this morning and I heard a loud bang,” he said. “I went outside and the doors were open on the car. There was smoke coming out of it and debris beside it in the road.

“I am just glad it ended. It was a nice quiet neighborhood here and to see something like this happen is something else.”

Ricky Merrill, who lives about five houses up the street from the Smiths, said Monday night he saw neighbors being evacuated and saw police and deputies at a neighboring house as the standoff continued.


He also said he saw two people on the roof of the front porch earlier in the day, and saw members of the state police tactical team creeping through the backyard of a neighboring yard.

“It is a definitely a shocker,” Merrill said. “This is something you would not expect in a small town that is always friendly.”

Ruth Hunter, who lives on the lower end of Knapp Street, said her son was still awake at about 3 a.m. Tuesday. He told her he thought they caught the suspect because police vehicles were leaving the street.

“I am shocked,” Hunter said. “Nothing like this ever happened while I have lived here. My son is very worried about the situation.”

Livermore Falls police asked state police for help Monday. Besides the state police tactical team, bomb team and crisis negotiators, New Hampshire and Massachusetts state police, which are part of the New England Police Administrators Conference, also responded.

Police repeatedly tried to get White to come out of the house Monday night by calling out to him through a megaphone from an armored vehicle blocking the street, with lights shining on the house.


A police cruiser blocks one end of Knapp Street on Tuesday morning in Livermore Falls after a standoff with a hostage-taker ended at 48 Knapp St. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

A negotiator told White several times police were trying to call him and he needed to answer his phone.

“It is time to let Ken out,” the negotiator said.

The negotiator also asked White to show Smith in a window. At one point, police told White they would give him his medication. As of 10 p.m., that had not happened.

The incident began when Livermore Falls police responded to a report of an armed intruder with zip ties at the residence about 5:30 a.m. Monday, Steward said Monday.

Four people were at the house. One escaped and reported the situation to police. Two other hostages were freed later in the day.

“From the moment law enforcement were called to this scene, literally hundreds of members of this country’s law enforcement community committed nonstop dedication to the best possible resolution of a very hostile and tragic set of circumstances,” Livermore Falls Lt. Joseph Sage said Tuesday at a news conference.


“I can say with a degree of certainty that the community of Livermore Falls and this fine state of Maine have some of the most dedicated, committed and specialized officers available.”

He expressed gratitude on behalf of the Livermore Falls Police Department and community to the law enforcement personnel who responded to the incident.

Sage also thanked the members of the community for their continued support of law enforcement, including the First Church of Livermore Falls and VFW Post 3335 that offered shelters and nourishment to law enforcement. Throughout the day, many residents, businesses and charities offered assistance.

A member of the Maine State Police Tactical Team walks up Knapp Street on Monday in Livermore Falls during a standoff with a hostage-taker. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Regional School Unit 73 was back in session Tuesday after students were released Monday morning because of the standoff and a possible bomb in one or all of the schools, according to an email Superintendent Scott Albert sent to students, families and staff members.

Schools were checked Monday and deemed safe to reenter Tuesday morning.

School buses were not able to enter a cordoned-off area downtown, including Knapp Street. Police said students could walk to Church or Main streets to be picked up if they avoided 48 Knapp St., according to Albert.

If parents were not able to get their children to school or did not want them at school, they were told to call the school and they would be excused, Albert wrote in another email.

The area is expected to be cordoned off again Wednesday morning, and possibly all day, according to Albert. Parents and students will have to follow the same procedures as Tuesday.

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