A SWAT team officer works outside a Maine State Police armored truck during Monday’s standoff at the Motel 6 on Riverside Street in Portland. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Maine State Police were trying late Monday night to persuade a man barricaded in a fourth-floor room at a Portland motel to surrender, using a bullhorn to tell “Vinny in room 405” to come out with his empty hands in the air.

But after evacuating the entire fourth floor of the motel and most of the third floor, police entered the room and discovered the man was not there. Now they’re searching for Vincent Teruel, 40, of Hollis, according to a statement issued Tuesday morning by Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

Teruel is charged in connection with an alleged domestic violence assault Sunday night in York County. Anyone with information on his location is asked to call state police in Gray at 657-3030.

Police had suspected that Teruel might be armed, and a gun was found late last night at another, unspecified location, McCausland said.

State police said the standoff at the Motel 6 on Riverside Street near Brighton Avenue began when troopers tracked Teruel to the hotel Monday afternoon and went there to arrest him.

The top two floors of the building were evacuated for the safety of the public and officers.

The goal was to make the arrest “in a peaceful manner,” McCausland said.

He declined to specify the town in which the alleged domestic assault occurred.

A state police truck pulled up to the front entrance of the hotel about 10 p.m. and officers were seen taking things in and out of the vehicle. It was unclear who got back into the vehicle before it left. About 10:15 p.m., at least two troopers were on the roof of the hotel and two loud noises that sounded like breaking glass were heard.

A sniper was in position around 11 p.m. on the roof of VIP Tires & Service, across a parking lot from the Motel 6. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

After evacuating guests from the upper floors Monday afternoon, police had encircled the building with police cars, and blocked entrances to the hotel with tractor-trailers.

During the afternoon, managers of the motel had told guests they had to leave because a guest in a fourth-floor room was armed and dangerous, said Liz Cicci, who has been renting a room there with her husband and two young children since May.

Cicci and her children were evacuated from their third-floor room at 2 p.m.

SWAT team members were on the scene Monday night and snipers had taken up positions around the building, including in the treeline and on top of nearby buildings.

“We want to hear your side of the story. We know there is always another side to the story,” the negotiator called over the bullhorn. “We know you’re tired, we know you’re scared. Do the right thing, Vinny.”

Members of a Maine State Police team shine a spotlight on the window of a room on the top floor of the Motel 6 on Riverside Street in Portland on Monday night. Police used a megaphone to ask the person inside to signal that their requests could be heard by moving the curtain or flicking the lights in the room. They then asked the person inside to call them on a number the police left on the room’s answering machine so that they could talk. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

The negotiator then asked Vinny to shake the curtains or turn off the lights to let police know that he was still there. Vinny didn’t appear to respond.

A little while later, the negotiator, who identified himself as Mark, asked Vinny a second time to come out of the room, telling him that they had a warrant for his arrest.

During his appeal, the negotiator noted that Vinny had been talking to police, but had broken off communication, turned off his cellphone and disengaged his room phone “some time ago.”

“You are not cooperating, Vinny. If you come out, we guarantee your safety,” the negotiator said over the bullhorn.

A handful of guests still appeared to be in the hotel during the standoff. The silhouette of a couple smoking could be seen in a lit-up second-floor hotel room on the other side from room 405. A fire alarm went off shortly at the hotel before 10 p.m., but police couldn’t say what triggered it.

An armored truck pulls into the Motel 6 parking lot on Riverside Street in Portland. Police said the hotel was closed to the public because of a dangerous situation. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Police at the scene did not release any information about what was going on, only saying that the hotel was closed to the public because of a dangerous situation.

Many of the guests gathered in the parking lot of the tire shop next door on Monday night to wait in hopes they could return to their rooms. Cicci said many of the guests are long-term renters, and that they have pets and medicine in their rooms.

Around 10 p.m. some of the guests started making preparations for spending the night in their cars. One little boy could be seen changing into his Spiderman pajamas and bedding down in a minivan.

Penelope Overton can be contacted at 791-6463 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PLOvertonPPH

Staff Writer Matt Byrne contributed to this story.

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