Updated at 5:15 a.m.: Ellsworth police reported early Tuesday that Aaron Wagner, 41, was arrested after trying to return to his apartment. A post by the Ellsworth Police Department on its Facebook page indicated the apartment was under surveillance, and that Wagner was apprehended without incident. This story will be updated.
The original story is below.
ELLSWORTH, Maine — Despite efforts to track down a man who is accused of shooting a gun at a vehicle with two people in it, night fell Monday without the suspect being apprehended.
Aaron Wagner, 41, of Ellsworth fired a gun at a car Sunday evening in the parking lot of Deane Street Apartments, according to police. Wagner has been seen since then — twice more Sunday evening and possibly twice on Monday — but has eluded a manhunt that has involved dozens of officers from multiple area law enforcement agencies.
Ellsworth Police Chief Harold “Pete” Bickmore said Monday afternoon that police have learned that Wagner may be having mental issues. He said police want to find Wagner to make sure he is not a continuing threat to others or to himself.
“We want to help him,” the chief said while standing in the parking lot of a business on Bucksport Road that police were using as a staging area as part of their search.
Local schools remained closed Monday out of concern that parents might not have heard about the search, and officials did not want children waiting by themselves for the school bus in front of their houses, or to walk to school in the morning. This especially was the case for families who live in the vicinity of Christian Ridge and Bucksport roads, where sightings of Wagner have occurred.
Bickmore and Dan Higgins, superintendent of the local school system, each said Monday that the closure of the schools was purely a precaution and that there have been no threats against anyone or that have raised specific concerns about safety at the city’s schools.
Higgins said Monday that he would discuss the situation with Bickmore again Tuesday morning before making a decision about whether schools should reopen on Tuesday.
A few minutes after 6 p.m. Monday, someone told police they had seen Wagner by the side of Route 1 in Ellsworth between the Union River bridge and Christian Ridge Road, on a section of road known locally as Bridge Hill.
Police from multiple agencies ran into the woods near Courtland Living Center and Woodlawn Museum with flashlights and search dogs, but they could not immediately track down Wagner.
Police continued searching for Wagner into the night.
Wagner has been described by police as being 6 feet, 1 inch tall, weighing about 175 pounds, with blue eyes and long blond hair. He was was last seen wearing a yellow jacket, dark jeans and red muck boots, police said Monday morning.
The shooting incident occurred about 6 p.m. Sunday as two residents of Deane Street Apartments sat in an SUV outside the main apartment building, police said Monday.
Wagner, who also lives at the apartment complex, was outside the building standing near a dumpster behind the vehicle when he fired a gun at it, according to Bickmore. A rear window of the vehicle was shot out in the incident, but no one was injured.
The chief said Monday that Wagner is believed to still have the firearm, a description of which he did not provide. He declined to comment on what sort of circumstances may have led to the Sunday night shooting.
According to a copy of Wagner’s criminal history, obtained Monday from the State Bureau of Identification, he has a criminal record consisting mostly of misdemeanors that dates back to 1993. Most of his convictions are for property crimes such as theft, burglary, criminal mischief or criminal trespass, but he also has convictions for violating protection orders and one each for harassment by telephone and for assault.
Wagner is wanted on Class C felony charges of reckless conduct with a firearm and aggravated criminal mischief, according to police.
Anyone who may see Wagner or learn of his location is asked to call police by dialing 911.