WINSLOW — An man who allegedly threatened to shoot police was taken into custody Wednesday morning after a standoff with law enforcement officials that lasted all night.

Matthew Savinelli, 34, of 1 Bellevue St., Apartment 3, came out of his second-story apartment peacefully at 7:45 a.m. after having talked with a Maine State Police crisis negotiator since late Tuesday, according to police Chief Jeffrey Fenlason.

He was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Thayer Campus in Waterville. Police said he remained there Wednesday afternoon and charges against him were pending.

“We believed he did have a gun because of statements he made to shoot us,” Fenlason said. “We were handling it as if he did have a weapon.”

Fenlason said police who later searched the apartment did not find a weapon.

Savinelli’s mother, Candace Savinelli, said late Wednesday morning that her son has Asperger’s syndrome, a disorder in the autism spectrum that causes him to become defensive if confronted with force.

She contacted police Tuesday to say she was concerned for his welfare. He has been depressed lately and has been taking whey, a milk product, to bulk up his muscles and it was causing his emotional distress, she said.

“He didn’t have any guns. He didn’t have anything,” she said. “The only thing he did was refuse to come out of his apartment. We were concerned about his well-being and it ended up being this big standoff, which it shouldn’t have been.”

The state police tactical team and crisis negotiation team arrived at the apartment house after 10 p.m. Tuesday to assist Winslow police, Fenlason said at 8 a.m. Wednesday, standing with other police in the St. John’s Church parking lot on Monument Street.

Bellevue Street, which is horseshoe-shaped, starts and ends on Monument, which police blocked off to traffic.

“They finally talked him into coming out this morning,” Fenlason said of Savinelli. “They’re doing a search of his apartment now. Luckily, it ended the way it did — peacefully.”

Savinelli is a security guard who worked at a power grid near the Sebasticook River, according to his landlord, Darrin Cates.

“He would sit there all night and keep an eye on the place to make sure nobody messed with the construction site,” Cates said.

Savinelli also was working at a bakery, Holy Cannoli, a new family business in downtown Waterville.

Cates said another tenant in the three-apartment building called him around 10 a.m. Tuesday to say police were knocking on Savinelli’s door.

Cates said that when he called Savinelli, he said he was OK. Cates said he urged Savinelli to call him if he needed anything.

“I figured everything was OK,” Cates said.

Then at 11 p.m. Tuesday, another tenant called Cates to report the standoff with police.

Cates said Savinelli has lived in the apartment about four months. Cates described him as a nice man.

“He’s very intelligent, he has a really good personality and seems quiet and shy and meek, but friendly,” he said.

Several residents of Bellevue Street were evacuated from their homes late Tuesday and early Wednesday as the standoff progressed.

They stood on the corner of Monument and St. John streets around 7:30 a.m., watching police.

Cassie Sirois, 29, said she and her husband, James Sirois, 30, and their two children got only three hours of sleep. Jessica Veilleux, 30, and her daughter live next door to Savinelli’s building.

“At 3:30 a.m., police came and told us all we had to leave,” Veilleux said. “They basically escorted us to the car.”

Meanwhile, Candace Savinelli said Waterville police have dealt with her son several times and know how to talk with him so that the situation does not escalate.

Aspberger’s is a misunderstood disorder, she said. Her son may act strangely but he actually is not understanding people’s body language and other signals, she said.

“He says things, but he never acts on them,” she said. “He has never hurt anybody. He gets so depressed and he doesn’t understand people. My son is a very intelligent, kind, giving person, and anybody who knows him knows that.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

 

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