Man shot during Ellsworth standoff threatened to cause explosion, police say

Posted June 02, 2014, at 12:53 p.m.
Last modified June 02, 2014, at 3:16 p.m.
Jeffrey Barnard, 2011
Courtesy of Hancock County Sheriff's Office
Jeffrey Barnard, 2011

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A man who was shot by Maine State Police during a standoff this weekend threatened to cause an explosion by igniting a can of gasoline, Ellsworth police reported Monday.

Jeffrey Barnard also was armed with a .22 rifle, said Lt. Harold Page.

Barnard, 50, underwent surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Sunday after being shot by a state trooper.

His condition could not be immediately be determined Monday. Amanda Lebel, a spokeswoman for Eastern Maine Medical Center, said no information was available, meaning Barnard either was not a patient or had not signed forms authorizing the release of information.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said Monday that Barnard was still a patient at the medical center.

Barnard has a “very extensive criminal record” with convictions in Maine and California, Page said. He cited convictions for assaults, criminal threatening, assault with a weapon and assault on a police officer.

“It pretty much runs the gamut,” said Page.

Barnard and his wife, Vicki, 56, had been living in the camper, located at 303 North St. on land owned by another person, for a couple of years, according to Page. He described the camper as the type that is towed by a vehicle.

There had been “some friction” between Barnard and the landowner, said Page. “It kind of boiled over,” he said.

Police issued a criminal threatening summons to Barnard on Friday morning and also served him with a protection order, according to Page.

The landowner complained to police about 8:03 a.m. Saturday that Barnard had stolen the keys to a tractor, and officers went to the scene to investigate, Page said. A confrontation with Barnard began immediately, he said.

Barnard, accompanied by his wife, refused to come out of the camper, said Page. “At one point he displayed a 5-gallon can he said was full of gas and threatened to blow the place up,” said Page.

Barnard also brandished a .22 rifle during the standoff, according to Page.

Barnard was shot by Trooper Scott Duff, McCausland reported earlier. Duff, a member of the Maine State Police tactical team and a seven-year veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative leave with pay — standard procedure when officers are involved in a shooting.

Barnard’s wife was not injured.

The operation by the the state police tactical team ended about 5 a.m. Sunday, according to Page.

Page and McCausland deferred questions about the police response and shooting to the attorney general’s office, which investigates shootings involving police officers.

Tim Feeley, a spokesman for Attorney General Janet Mills, declined to provide additional information on the incident, citing policy that prohibits comment on such investigations until they are complete.

Motorists and pedestrians were forced to avoid North Street on Saturday after it was shut down because of the standoff; it was reopened to traffic 11 a.m. Sunday.

Ellsworth police summoned state police for assistance. State police negotiators went to the home, but the agency’s tactical unit was at an incident in Aroostook County and didn’t arrive until early Sunday. Bangor police also provided assistance.

 

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Trooper Scott Duff is a 17-year Maine State Police veteran. Duff has been with Maine State Police for seven years.

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