WATERVILLE — A Waterville man was arrested Saturday after he holed himself up in an apartment on Front Place with a loaded handgun and his 20-day-old infant as state and local police evacuated area homes and tried to communicate with him to come out peacefully.

Dakota Lewis, 20, of 2 Front Place, Apartment 2, reportedly threatened his girlfriend’s mother with the gun in the second-floor apartment just before 2:16 p.m. and the mother left and called police, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

“There was some sort of an argument that happened, and he got very upset at his girlfriend’s mother, and that’s when he pulled the gun and threatened her with it,” Massey said later at the police station. “The mother left the apartment and the girlfriend left the apartment.”

At 3:28 p.m., Lewis walked out of the apartment building and approached officers, and they took him into custody, Massey said.

“A loaded .45-caliber handgun was recovered from the kitchen table of the apartment,” he said.

Massey said he did not know what precipitated the argument.

Lewis was being booked at the police station as Massey spoke, just after 4 p.m. He said Lewis was charged with terrorizing, a class D misdemeanor, and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a class D crime that is elevated to class C at sentencing if he is found guilty. Massey said Lewis is known to police.

“We have dealt with him in the past for disturbing-type calls, disorderly conduct,” he said, adding that Lewis had an address of Livermore Falls, but police think he lives with his girlfriend on Front Place.

Lewis, whose bail was set at $500, was to be taken Saturday evening to Kennebec County jail in Augusta, according to Waterville police Sgt. Dan Goss, who was the supervisor on duty during the standoff. Lewis is scheduled to appear March 7 at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, Goss said.

Later, a woman called the Morning Sentinel and, though she declined to give her name, said she is the baby’s mother.

“A person came into the apartment and was attacking my boyfriend in front of my infant son,” she said. “He was just defending himself, and he’s being made to look like the bad guy, and he got arrested.”

The standoff started just before 2:30 p.m. when police descended on Front Street with blue lights flashing and blocked off the street at Union Street just south of the three-story apartment building on Front Place, which is off Front Street. State police arrived soon afterward and set up a station in the American Legion Hall parking lot north of the apartment building. The parking lot can be accessed by vehicle from both Front Street and College Avenue, which run parallel to each other.

Massey said police called the State Police Tactical Team to assist and Waterville police hostage negotiators, Sgts. Alden Weigelt and Jennifer Weaver, arrived and tried to reach Lewis by phone, but the number they were given went to a line that was disconnected.

“That became problematic because we had no way to communicate with this individual,” Massey said, adding that negotiators were in the process of trying to contact Lewis through the social media site Facebook when he emerged from the building.

Waterville officers and troopers stood with long guns at strategic places around the apartment house, after asking neighbors to leave their homes. Those neighbors congregated at the corner of Front and Union streets, watching police work from a distance.

Former Waterville city Councilor T.J. Tavares, who lives next to the apartment building, said he was in his house just before 2:30 p.m. when his dog, Sophie, a 5-year-old border collie-Rotweiller mix, started barking.

“I looked out and saw one Waterville officer by the car and then there was another one right next to my steps,” Tavares said. “They asked if there was another entrance for me to get out. I told them I could cut out through my back fence. I left through the back, and here I am.”

Tavares said police told him the reason he had to leave was that a man with a handgun was in a second-floor apartment next to his house.

As Tavares spoke on the sidewalk, a Waterville police officer escorted a woman who left the apartment building to a cruiser parked in the street. The woman was not wearing shoes. The officer spoke with her for a while and at 2:50 p.m. drove her up Union Street toward Main Street.

At 3:28 p.m., a commotion brewed in front of the apartment building as a man wearing an orange hunting jacket emerged from the building and an officer yelled, “Put your hands up, now! Walk towards the front of the house. Do it now. Lie down. Do not move. Do not move.”

The man got on the ground and officers took him into custody, placed him in a cruiser and drove off. Then officers went into the building and one emerged, carrying a baby.

“At least it ended peacefully,” said Peter York, a man who was watching the standoff and said he lives two streets away.

A young girl who said she lives on the first floor of the apartment building said the baby, a boy, was born Jan. 1.

At 3:43 p.m., several State Police Tactical team members entered the building. Shortly afterward, neighbors were allowed to go back into their homes.

The standoff was reminiscent of a standoff that occurred about a year ago when a man drove to the police station and threatened to kill himself. State and local police at that time set up a command post in the same American Legion parking lot, and after several hours and negotiations, the man surrendered peacefully.

Meanwhile, Massey said Saturday that he and Rep. Thomas R.W. Longstaff, D-Waterville, have been working on a bill to try to change the requirements regarding police standoffs. Currently the law requires police to warn a person that if he does not surrender and leave a barricaded structure within 30 minutes, he could be charged with the civil offense of creating a police standoff.

“The problem with that is, negotiators try to build a rapport and credibility with that person,” he said, adding that the person likely would stop communicating at that point. He hopes the statute is changed to make it a class E crime instead of a civil offense.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17