BANGOR, Maine — Officers from Bangor and Brewer and deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office converged on Pickering Square with their weapons drawn Tuesday afternoon to take a man riding the city bus — who police believed had a knife — into custody.
Bangor resident and lawyer Brent Slater was going to his car around 1:50 p.m. and saw the armed law enforcement officers approach the suspect.
“I saw them get out of the cars with their guns drawn,” he said.
Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said the incident began in Brewer and ended in Bangor when the man, later identified as Bracy Ashby, 45, of Lubec, boarded the BAT Community Connection bus in Brewer that was heading to Pickering Square.
Initial reports were that he had a knife and was acting strangely, Brewer police Lt. Chris Martin said.
“They got him off the bus [at Pickering Square] and guns were used,” Edwards said.
Officers told Ashby to lie on the ground facedown, Slater said, and as one officer handcuffed him, another stood nearby with his gun aimed at Ashby. After the officers secured Ashby, he was searched, the eyewitness said.
“I could see that they found something,” Slater said.
“They were able to determine he was under the influence of some sort of substance,” Martin said, “They found a diverted pharmaceutical drug on his person that he admitted to using.”
Ashby seemed to be intoxicated, and after getting a haircut in Brewer, pulled out a small pocketknife and was acting “kind of lost” near a residence on South Main Street, Martin said.
“He seemed very disorientated,” he said.
A call was made to Brewer police, who tried unsuccessfully to locate him. They were told he had boarded the city bus heading toward Bangor, and Brewer alerted law enforcement in the region.
Ashby had a small knife in his possession when he was stopped, Martin said.
Ashby, who was out on bail, was in possession of drugs, Edwards said, declining to identify what type. He was charged with violating his bail conditions and for having the drugs, but he was not arrested, police said.
Bangor police Sgt. Larry Webber said Ashby reportedly had taken too much Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, and was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center after his run-in with police.