WATERVILLE — A Spruce Street man was arrested Friday morning after he allegedly assaulted his mother, wreaked havoc in their apartment and threatened to point a gun at police officers when they arrived, with the expectation that they would shoot him.
Zachary Larrabee, 29, of 25 Spruce St. ultimately emerged from the second floor apartment after police surrounded the building with guns drawn and demanded he come out with his hands up.
Larrabee’s mother, Linda Noble, 58, said at the scene later Friday that her son just “flipped out,” and that he needs help.
As he trashed the apartment, she said, she ran downstairs to neighbor Nancy Duby’s apartment and had her call the police. Larabee followed.
It turns out police had already dealt with Larrabee four times Friday morning.
Police Chief Joseph Massey said the downstairs neighbor called 911 at 9:38 a.m. to report Larrabee was acting irrationally.
“When (Duby) called us, she indicated that Larrabee had come down into her apartment, that he had some sort of handgun with him and that he made some statements to the effect that if police were called, he was going to point the gun at us,” Massey said. “At that point, he grabbed his mother and forced her back upstairs and into the apartment.”
Police surrounded the house, blocked off streets to traffic and spoke with people in the area, one of whom said Larrabee had a squirt gun and another who said it was a handgun and that it could be a C02 pellet gun, Massey said. Winslow police were called to help control traffic and help block off streets.
There was no phone in Larrabee’s apartment and he and his mother had no cellphone, so Sgt. Jennifer Weaver, the department’s hostage negotiator, spoke to Larrabee via a loudspeaker to try to get him to come out of the building and surrender, Massey said.
“We tried that for about 40 minutes,” Massey said. “When he finally did emerge from the apartment building, he appeared to have something in his hand. He also had a towel wrapped around his forearm. He came out with his hands up.”
Larrabee was carrying a pair of eyeglasses, a small dark cloth bag and the towel, but no gun, police said.
He apparently had punched himself in the head and cut himself three or four times on his forearm, according to Massey.
He said Larrabee did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He was taken into protective custody.
He was charged with domestic violence assault for grabbing his mother and forcing her upstairs into their apartment, Massey said.
‘HE JUST FLIPPED OUT’
Noble, his mother, said she was sleeping Friday morning when “he came bursting in the door.”
“He came in and said, ‘Where’s my bike?’ He just flipped out. He made a mess up there (in the apartment).”
In the apartment kitchen, there was a coffee pot was on the floor and broken glass from its carafe strewn around with coffee grounds. Bedding and other items had been dragged into the kitchen and left.
Noble pointed to a hole in the living room door that she said her son caused.
Duby, 66, said she and her partner, Mark Bailey, 53, were at their kitchen table having coffee and getting ready to go to the bank when they heard the commotion upstairs.
“He was throwing things — he was just out of control with his mother and stuff,” Duby said of Larrabee.
When Larrabee came downstairs, he struck his head on the door several times, according to Duby. He went back upstairs and returned with a C02 BB handgun and told Duby that if police arrived and they saw the gun, they would shoot him and it would be all over, according to Duby.
Bailey said that at one point, he went outside to get the mail and Larrabee confronted him, saying his bike and $900 were missing.
“After that, he started flipping out,” said Bailey, whose right arm was bleeding. “He pushed me and I fell down. It happened so quick, you know? All of a sudden, he started slapping his mother.”
FOUR ENCOUNTERS WITH POLICE
Larrabee was taken by Delta Ambulance to Thayer Center for Health on North Street. His bail was set at $1,500 unsecured bail, and he is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court Aug. 19, Massey said.
Massey said police are familiar with Larrabee, who had been arrested on domestic violence assault charges in the past.
Police had already dealt with him four times Friday morning, according to Massey.
At about 3:30 a.m., police received a report of a man in the middle of College Avenue, near the U.S. Post Office. Larrabee told the responding officer he was looking for his glasses. The officer helped him search, but they found nothing and Larrabee said he would go home to try to find another pair.
Then at 5:11 a.m., a caller from 17 College Ave. said a man was in the hallways and had set off a fire alarm with cigarette smoke. At the time, Larrabee told police he was looking for someone named Scooby, but no one by that name lives there, according to Massey. Police told him to leave the building.
At 6:11 a.m., a caller from Dunkin’ Donuts on College Avenue reported someone in the shop was being aggressive and had taken a coffee cup. Larrabee told police he went in to buy some doughnuts and wanted to buy a cup, but he first wanted to see if it fit in his bag. Employees, however, believed he was trying to steal the cup, Massey said. No charges were filed and police told Larrabee to go home and warned him that it had been the third time they had dealt with him that morning, Massey said.
Shortly after that, a caller from Burger King on College Avenue called and said someone was causing a problem there, Massey said.
“He went in there to more or less tell something of what happened at Dunkin’ Donuts and how angry he was about that particular incident,” Massey said.
Police warned him to stay out of both Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King and if his actions continued, he would be arrested, according to Massey. They also offered Larrabee a ride home.
“He said he could make his own way home and that’s the last we saw of him until 9:38 a.m.,” Massey said.
‘HE NEEDS HELP’
Noble said her son, who works at a restaurant, “does not belong in jail.”
“He needs help,” she said. “I guess you can’t force somebody to get help but when there’s enough witnesses. He’s got a drug problem. He lost his girlfriend. He hasn’t seen his child in a little over two years and it’s killing him.”
Crying, Noble said she is the only person her son has left.
“I want him to get help. This breaks my heart. He’s not a bad boy; he’s a good boy. He’s smart. He’s intelligent, but when drugs get a hold of you, they get a hold of you.”
Noble added that police did a good job handling the situation and making sure no one got hurt.
“They were excellent,” she said. “I’m so glad that they treated him, not like a criminal. They treated him with kid gloves, pretty much.”
Neighbors said the police presence in the neighborhood was unnerving.
A family friend, Robert Rugar, 51, of Gray Street, was riding his bike to the apartment house when he saw all the police and wondered what was happening.
“He came to my house last night,” Rugar said of Larrabee. “He started talking and we were going to go for a bike ride today. He seemed like he was in good spirits. Zach is a good kid but he can get wound up. He can get angry. He does have a hot temper.”
Sandra Provencher, 46, who lives nearby, said she was concerned for Noble.
“I wish better for her — she deserves better,” Provencher said.
Amy Calder — 861-9247