AUBURN — Police, fire and rescue crews were on Russell Avenue early Saturday morning after gunfire was reported, explosions were heard and at least two houses were on fire.

A gunman was reportedly holed up inside a garage at the scene. It was unclear if anyone else was inside the home.

Fire crews were waiting to douse the flames as police attempted to determine the location of the gunman. Nearby homes were being evacuated and an entire section of Russell Avenue was blocked off.

An emergency alert was sent out to residents who live in the area advising them to shelter in place. Central Maine Power shut down electricity to the area.


The Maine State Police tactical team was arriving in the area at about 2:45 a.m. as the gunman was still at large.

Flames shooting from one of the burning homes rose as high as the houses around it as police scrambled to find the shooter.

Jeremy Perron, who lives at 9 Russell Ave., said at first he thought the smell of smoke was a bon fire somewhere nearby. Shortly after the power went out, a neighbor called him and told him the house next to Perron’s was on fire and he should evacuate. As he gathered a few belongings, the neighbor called back and said there was a man shooting at police and he should stay, Perron said.

As the drama unfolded, police told Perron he needed to leave his home. Perron headed to his garage to get his car. As he entered the garage, Perron said he heard a man’s voice say “Don’t do it! Don’t do it, man! I don’t want to hurt anybody.” Perron said he left the garage immediately and told police there was a person in his garage, though Perron says he doesn’t know who it is.

Perron said all police told him was that houses were on fire and that someone shot at police officers.

Standing alongside Court Street later, Perron said as he was leaving his house he grabbed one very special item — a copy of “History of the United States” by John Fiske published in 1895.


Thinking about returning home after all the police activity is over and the fires extinguished, Perron had one thought: “I’m hoping it’s still going to be there.”

Another neighbor said the gunman could be heard screaming angrily at police and possibly a girlfriend while firing shots. In a video shot by a neighbor in the early part of the drama, 10 gunshots can be heard, fired over a span of about a minute.

A home burns on Russell Avenue early Saturday morning in Auburn after reports that a gunman was holed up inside. Shannen Duclos

Deputies from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department also responded to the scene as did police from other area towns, including Lewiston and Mechanic Falls. Sabattus police were also providing coverage as the situation unfolded while Livermore Falls police were handling police calls around the county.

Auburn fire captain Chris Moretto said three explosions rocked the area at about 2:15 a.m., blasts that were believed to be related to the initial fire. It was unclear if anyone had been injured — there were early reports that a woman was struck by gunfire in the early part of the incident and that she had been taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Just before 3 a.m. an additional explosion was heard in the area. Around the same time, more State Police officials were arriving at the scene.

By 3:15 a.m., spark and heavy smoke could be seen floating over Court Street as the fires raged. At 3:30 a.m., police encouraged a group of people watching the scene from their porch to go inside and take shelter, preferably in their basement.

At about 4 a.m., Auburn police posted a notice on Facebook alerting the public that the situation was ongoing and that those who live in the area should continue to shelter in place.

Russell Avenue runs off Court Street between Park and Western avenues.

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