LIVERMORE  FALLS — About 15 hours after a man broke into a house at 48 Knapp St. early Monday morning and zip tied occupants, police were still negotiating with the armed intruder at almost midnight, according to officials.

One person escaped during the early morning break-in, and two others got out later, leaving a fourth still inside, according to police.

The neighborhood was blocked to traffic and nearby homes and businesses were evacuated, officials said.

“If you let (the man) go we can guarantee your safety,” the negotiator could be heard saying over a megaphone Monday evening.

Police appeared to offer the gunman a medication exchange as part of the negotiation process.

“You got loved ones out here,” the negotiator said. “Your loved ones are worried about you.”

State police, Livermore Falls and Jay police and Androscoggin County sheriff’s deputies respond Monday to an armed gunman holding a hostage in a home on Knapp Street in Livermore Falls. Three other people in the house escaped, police said. The 15-hour standoff continued Monday night as negotiators tried to speak with the gunman. Donna M.Perry/Sun Journal

EARLIER IN THE DAY

Livermore Falls police responded to a report of an armed intruder at about 5:25 a.m., according to Livermore Falls Lt. Joseph Sage.

“The scene developed into the armed suspect being barricaded within the residence,” he said.

Police Chief Ernest Steward Jr. said earlier Monday that three people were being held hostage. One hostage escaped during the break-in, he said.

It is believed the hostages were zip tied, he said.

State police, Livermore Falls and Jay police and the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office were at the scene, along with the Maine State Police Tactical Unit. NorthStar EMS ambulance was nearby, and Livermore Falls and Jay firefighters were making sure vehicles do not go near the scene.

Cargill Street and a section of Knapp Street are blocked off. The ends of several other streets are also blocked off.

Steward said arrest and search warrants have been received for the house and a car, and they were given to troopers midmorning.

 

SCHOOLS RELEASED EARLY

Schools in Regional School Unit 73 were dismissed midmorning because of the situation and a possible bomb threat, according to an email from Superintendent Scott Albert.

A call from School Resource Officer Darin Gilbert at 6:25 a.m. said there was a hostage situation in downtown Livermore Falls that appeared to involve an RSU 73 student and employee.

“We both felt at that time it was safe to have school,” Albert wrote to students, staff and families. “At around 10 a.m, I received another call from SRO Gilbert stating that information was obtained connected to the hostage situation that included the possibility of a bomb being in one or all of our schools. This is why we were dismissed at that time. We take all threats seriously.”

Bomb squad members and police dogs were brought in to check the district buildings to ensure it would be safe to reenter them Tuesday, he wrote.

“I am sorry to say that I have not received any official word on the safety of our student and employee,” Albert wrote, “but my thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Neighbor

Ricky Merrill of Knapp Street in Jay said he saw some neighbors being evacuated. He saw a couple of people, which he believed were police on the roof of the front porch of the victim’s house.

He saw three police in a neighboring yard with guns pointed at the house.

“It is definitely a shocker,” Merrill said. “This something you would not expect in a small town that has always been friendly.”

 

A house at 48 Knapp St. in Livermore Falls just beyond the parked car was the scene of an armed standoff Monday. The 15-hour hostage situation continued with negotiators trying to get the gunman to surrender late Monday night. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

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