GREENVILLE, Maine — A local man who has had run-ins with police in the past created an armed standoff Thursday morning at Indian Hill Trading Post and Supermarket, authorities said.
Police said Lonnie Gould, 52, walked into the trading post at about 8:30 a.m. brandishing a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and threatened to kill himself and others. Gould was apprehended a short time later and was taken to Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville where he was evaluated, according to Greenville Police Chief Scott MacMaster. He was later taken to Piscataquis County Jail where he remained in custody Thursday afternoon.
MacMaster said Gould will be charged with creating a police stand-off, criminal threatening with a fire-arm and quite probably armed robbery. The latter charge stems from Gould’s use of a weapon to threaten store employees, he said.
“It was an extremely tense situation and all the ducks were in a row — everything good that could possibly come out of this did,” MacMaster said after the incident.
When Greenville police first received the call at 8:30 a.m., MacMaster said a store employee reported an unruly customer in the sporting section. As MacMaster got closer to the store, he was advised the customer was armed and that he was talking about committing suicide.
Store owners quickly evacuated the store. However, Craig Watt, Indian Hill’s operations manager, and employee Kelly McMahon chose to remain inside to relay information to the police via cell phones, according to the police chief.
“We had a situation where there was an individual in the store with a weapon threatening to hurt himself and which the local wardens and Greenville police handled very quickly and professionally,” Watt said after the incident.
“It was the best outcome that could be hoped for,” Watt said. “The employees did an excellent job in a tense situation.” He referred any other comment to Greenville police.
MacMaster said that at one point during the standoff, Gould discarded his shotgun on a counter and took a .357-caliber revolver from a store shelf and inserted some ammunition also taken from a shelf. Five bullets were missing from the package of ammunition, he said.
When Gould saw MacMaster and Sgt. William Chandler of the Maine Warden Service inside the store, he started to walk to the rear of the store, according to the police chief. As he did so, Watt grabbed the 12-gauge shotgun from the counter and he and McMahon left the store, he said.
While Chandler was talking to Gould to calm him down, MacMaster circled around, ran at Gould and grabbed the gun, according to the police chief.
Greenville Town Manager John Simko praised the local officers who responded. “Scott and Sgt. Chandler did an excellent job,” he said. “Handled in a different way, it could have had a very negative outcome. Their professionalism prevented that.”
The Maine State Police Tactical Team and deputies from the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department were en route but were called off when the situation was defused.