WINTHROP — A Winthrop man was found dead in his Spruce Street home Monday afternoon following a standoff that kept police on the scene seven hours and kept students who lived nearby at school until the scene was cleared.

Winthrop police said Ronald Tripp, 49, likely died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a little after 10:30 a.m.

There were no other injuries reported.

Winthrop Schools Superintendent Gary Rosenthal said school officials, working with Winthrop police, had students who walk to school and those bused to the downtown area stay at school under supervision until their parents arrived as a safety precaution while police were still at the scene and going through the house.

Officers said the standoff began at 8 a.m. when Tripp’s wife reported a domestic violence threat at the police station, said Winthrop Police Capt. Ryan Frost. He said the woman and a child fled the home because of the threat, leaving Tripp alone inside the home at 37 Spruce St.

Tripp came out of the house a couple times to talk to responding officers within a few moments of their arrival.

“He just ordered us off his property,” Frost said. “He would not talk to us.”

Frost said officers tried to call Tripp several times. Each time he hung up. Frost said officers then called the Maine State Police Tactical Team for assistance.

“A short time after calling state police we heard one gunshot from the residence,” he said.

Police secured the area and awaited the tactical team’s arrival. One neighboring home was evacuated. Frost said tactical team members secured a second home that could not be safely evacuated.

Maine State police barricaded the entrance to High Street off Route 133 Monday morning.

The middle school and high school, which are a short distance away through the woods, were put in what Frost described as a lockout. Students and staff were asked to shelter in place and limit movement to inside the building, Frost said. The lockout ended at the completion of the school day, but school students who live in that area and downtown were kept at their schools until parents arrived to pick them up.

After hearing the gunshot, police spent the next several hours gathering information and securing warrants to search the home and arrest Tripp on charges of terrorizing and criminal threatening, Frost said.

Once armed with the warrants, the tactical team entered the home around 3 p.m. and found Tripp dead. His body was expected to be taken to the Maine medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.

“Most likely it’s a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Frost said.

Monmouth police and Winthrop Ambulance Service assisted at the scene.

Most of the police vehicles left the area around the home about 4 p.m.

“We were hoping since 10:30 this morning that maybe this issue would have resolved itself,” schools superintendent Rosenthal said Monday afternoon. When it wasn’t by 2:10 p.m. dismissal, the students who live near the area of the standoff were asked to stay and their parents were notified through an instant alert system.

“We didn’t want to alarm anyone,” he said. “It doesn’t affect anybody in the schools per se, but research shows schools are the safer place.”

Rosenthal estimated that some 25 students were affected.

“We’ve tried to be proactive and think of every option,” he said, adding, “Parents have been great.”

Tripp had no criminal history, Frost said. It was not known if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if he had a history of mental health problems.

“We tried to engage in a conversation with him. That’s our goal,” Frost said. “He simply did not want to do that. He did not want to talk to us. We thought we had him at one point, but he just wouldn’t communicate.”

Staff Writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.

 


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