WATERVILLE — A man armed with a gun who reportedly had threatened suicide was taken into custody shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday after he had sat in his pickup truck in the Waterville Police Department parking lot for more than eight hours while negotiators tried to get him to surrender.

“Subject is in custody!” an officer reported over the police radio following the tense, cold night of waiting.

Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey identified the man at a 3:50 a.m. press conference as Gary Cross, 58, who gave an address in Plymouth but lives in Troy.

The police standoff drew officers from multiple agencies and shut down a section of nearby College Avenue for several hours Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

State police negotiators contacted Cross by cellphone and talked with him for nearly two hours before he finally told them he would surrender. Massey said the negotiators were in a vehicle in the parking lot of the American Legion Hall, where the command center had been since the standoff began at 6:15 p.m. Monday.

State police took Cross into protective custody, but Massey said at the press conference he didn’t know where they took him.

“It ended well for us and it ended well for him,” Massey said.

Massey said the handgun that Cross had held for much of the night was in his truck and had been recovered by state police.

“We’re probably going to charge him with creating a police standoff,” Massey said.

The civil violation is punishable by a fine, but also allows police to seek restitution for the expense of the standoff. Massey said the standoff would cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We’ll eventually have to get an estimate of costs for each department,” he said.

At the scene Monday night and Tuesday morning were Waterville, Oakland, Fairfield and Winslow police, as well as Maine State Police, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department and the Waterville and Fairfield fire departments. The command center in the American Legion parking lot included 30 or 40 vehicles. “The resources were immense,” Massey said.

He said the standoff was an inconvenience to the city, as police officers couldn’t access or leave the police department and it made it difficult to answer calls as cruisers were tied up in the back parking lot “so we had officers on foot.”

“It was dangerous, it was very inconvenient, it was very,very expensive in terms of resources,” Massey said.

He said such a situation endangers residents of the city because streets had to be shut down, making it difficult for emergency vehicles.

“It creates just a very dangerous situation that could end up very, very tragically,” he said.

He said it was the first dealing the department had ever had with Cross, but police learned earlier in the day that state police had dealt with him in the Detroit and Plymouth area.

Relatives had indicated he made threats to take his life and state police had been looking for him, according to Massey. “By the time we got that call, he was already sitting in our parking lot,” he said.

Asked why Cross came to Waterville, Massey said he didn’t know.

“I wish I did, but I don’t have that answer,” he said.


Cross had been in the parking lot, most of the time in his pickup truck, since about 6:15 p.m. Monday. For the first five hours, police hadn’t been able to make contact with him and Massey earlier in the night described the situation as a “wait and see.”

“They are talking to him and that’s obviously a good sign for us,” Massey said at a 12:15 a.m. Tuesday news conference, to a much smaller group of media than had been there earlier. “For the first three or four hours we had no contact.”

Police had been attempting to make contact with Cross — who several times during the night briefly got out of his truck, then got back in — since shortly after 6 p.m. Monday.

They got a call around 6:15 p.m. from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office that a man, possibly suicidal, was headed to the police department parking lot on Colby Circle, a quarter mile north of downtown Waterville, off College Avenue and Front Street. Officers checked the front parking lot and saw the man sitting in his pickup truck in the northwest corner of the lot, which is off College Avenue and is the public lot for the police station.

Massey said at 9:30 p.m. that police were being “very cautious” and trying to make contact with him via cellphone. At about 10 p.m., police confirmed that he was armed when he briefly got out of the truck and one of the officers who had him under surveillance said he had a firearm in his hand.

“There has not been any contact,” Massey told the press gathered at 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Elmwood Primary Care at 211 Main St., several blocks from the police station.

At an 11 p.m. news conference, he said little had changed. But shortly after that, the man and police began to talk.

The man’s wife was also on the scene for most of the night, though it wasn’t clear if she’d made contact with him. She spent much of the cold night sitting with a passenger in a small white SUV in the American Legion parking lot and was sometimes visited by a state trooper.

A large portion of College Avenue and Front Street were blocked off by firetrucks most of Monday night and into Tuesday morning. At about 1 a.m., the city’s Public Works Department was called in to put up barriers in the road.

The Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, which is also on Colby Circle within sight of the police station, was locked down. Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King on College Avenue, which were within the police perimeter, were evacuated as a precaution around 8 p.m. and didn’t reopen until 4 a.m. or so.

Massey said at the earlier news conference that state police negotiators were “hoping they can open some lines of communication” as the night wore on.


The Maine State Police tactical team and crisis negotiators arrived on the scene about an hour after the first report. Massey at the 3:50 a.m. Tuesday news conference commended all the officers and personnel who played a part, and said the state police were “absolutely terrific.”

“The negotiators established that connection, established that rapport, established that respect and their understanding, and simply talked him out of it,” Massey said.

“It’s just been a very long night and I’ve got to commend the officers,” he said. “They were patient, they used a lot of restraint, they were obviously concerned for somebody’s welfare.”

College Avenue, which is busy U.S. Route 201, was blocked to traffic by a Fairfield firetruck at Ash Street to the north and a Waterville firetruck at Getchell Street to the south, a distance of about half a mile.

Front Street, starting at about Union Street, was also blocked off. The street joins Colby Circle after another quarter mile and is where the entrance drive to the police station is. The entrances to Railroad Square and Dunkin’ Donuts were blocked to traffic from Main Street. The roads were opened back up shortly after the Cross was taken into custody.

The area where the standoff occurred was not near Colby College, which is in the northwest area of the city, or Thomas College, which is on the city’s southern edge.

The blocked-off roads caused issues as the night wore on.

When postal workers began to arrive for their shift at 2 a.m., police let them access the post office from the side door off the American Legion parking lot on Front Street. But postal trucks were not allowed into the area to deliver mail to the post office. Once the area was opened, the trucks rushed in.

Earlier, Winslow and Waterville firefighters had to respond to an alarm at Huhtamaki, which is on College Avenue on the Fairfield-Waterville line about a mile north of the blocked roads. The firetrucks had to detour several blocks to get to the factory. The alarm turned out to not be a serious issue.

The area blocked off included the post office, Colby Circle, the police station, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter and the Waterville District Court building, as well as businesses including Dunkin’ Donuts.

Massey asked that anyone traveling through Waterville Monday night take an alternate route through the city and avoid College Avenue.

State police tactical team members were positioned along the perimeter of the area when they arrived shortly after 7.

Around 1 a.m., a local caterer brought in food to feed the police and other emergency responders, who had been on the scene for several hours.

When the report first came in, the man reportedly got out of his truck briefly and walked away. The focus of the standoff had earlier been on the Pan Am rail yard nearby, the area around the district court building on College Avenue and the police station. He got back into the truck shortly after that, but got out of the truck, stood by it, then got back in several times during the course of the night.

A police dispatcher who was due to report to work at 8 p.m. waited outside the blocked-off area with onlookers, unable to get to work. A woman who said she lived at the homeless shelter also was prohibited from going there. Meanwhile, those in the police station whose shifts were due to end hours earlier, couldn’t leave and remained working.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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