BANGOR, Maine — Three male juveniles were arrested and charged with carrying concealed weapons Thursday afternoon after a confrontation on Center Street that Bangor police confirmed was connected to the ongoing conflict between two groups of local teenagers that in January led to the shooting death of 19-year-old John “Bobby” Surles.
Bangor police Sgt. Bob Bishop said Thursday that police were called to Center Street about 4 p.m. after receiving a report of a confrontation between two groups of teenage males.
Police took three juvenile males into custody and confiscated batons and pepper spray that were hidden in their clothing, Bishop said. He said all three teenagers, whose names were not released because of their ages, were released to their parents.
Thursday’s dispute, which Bishop said began with taunting and ended before physical violence erupted, was the latest in a series of confrontations between friends of Surles and those of his alleged shooter, 18-year-old Zachary Carr.
“We’re doing the best we can possibly do to monitor the situation,” Bishop said, adding, “I don’t think it’s over by any stretch.”
Though he said he was not directly involved in Thursday’s fracas on Center Street, Carr’s cousin, 18-year-old Dakota Nielson-Ashby, said that the three juveniles who were arrested were friends of Surles’.
The dispute between the rival groups of teenagers has been going on for at least a year and in recent months has involved threats and harassment, Nielson-Ashby said in a brief interview at his home at 57 Cumberland St., the building in front of which the January shooting took place.
“We told them we want to let it drop,” he said, but the tensions continue to simmer.
Thursday’s incident on Center Street came on the heels of a similar incident Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center, after Carr entered a plea of not guilty to charges of intentional or knowing murder and adequate provocation manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 29 shooting death of Surles.
Shortly after Carr’s court appearance, an intense verbal confrontation broke out between Surles’ friends and relatives and Carr’s.
The loud bickering between the two groups, which included vulgar comments and hand gestures, began in the lobby of the court building and continued outside after security officers asked the two groups to leave.
A Bangor police officer arrived shortly afterward, but by then the two groups were on different sides of Exchange Street. They later went their separate ways.