Chief says 19 loaded firearms, swastika not relevant to incident

Posted July 31, 2009, at 10:26 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:01 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Police continue to investigate an incident in which a local man allegedly brandished a gun at a group of other people but have found nothing improper about a collection of 19 firearms that they subsequently removed from the man’s apartment, according to the local police chief.

Police confiscated the weapons from Aaron Ward, 28, because he subsequently was arrested and his bail conditions prevent him from possessing any firearms.

Chief Nathan Young said Friday that police noticed Ward has a large swastika tattoo on his chest but have no reason to believe any Nazi sympathies may have played a role in the alleged incident. The people Ward is accused of threatening with a gun are Caucasians, Young said.

“In this case, it’s not relevant,” Young said. “There is no connection between that and what happened.”

The chief said that of the 19 firearms police removed from Ward’s Maple Street apartment, some are assault-style weapons and one is a .50-caliber sniper rifle. None of them, however, had been modified to be fully automatic, he said.

“We’re trying to make sure that all the weapons were properly owned,” Young said. “We have no reason to believe any [of the firearms] are illegal.”

Ward was arrested Monday evening in Bar Harbor after he and another man, Christopher Jones, 33, allegedly got into a confrontation with a group of people on Maple Street. Jones is accused of punching another man, and Ward is accused of pointing a .380-caliber handgun at them.

The other people fled and called police, who went to Maple Street and then were directed to Ward’s nearby apartment.

At Ward’s apartment, Officer Soren Sundberg knocked on the door, causing a venetian blind to fall from a window in the door, Young said Friday. Sundberg looked in and saw Ward allegedly crouching behind the door, the chief said.

“When they knocked on the door, he was armed behind the door with a .45-caliber handgun,” Young said.

Ward, who then allegedly tried to hide the gun, was ordered out of the apartment by Sundberg, who arrested the man without further incident, Young said.

Ward, who is facing charges of criminal threatening and possession of a concealed firearm, was taken to Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth and was released on bail the next day, Young said.

Jones, who was arrested on charges of assault and criminal threatening, made bail from the Bar Harbor police station without being transferred to the jail.

The police chief said he does not consider 19 firearms to be an unusually large collection of guns. What seems unusual to him, he said, is that they were all loaded.

“I would suggest there are people with collections larger than what he had,” the chief said. “To have several of them loaded is not normal, in my mind anyway.”

btrotter@bangordailynews.net

460-6318

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