03/27/2001

Facing a loaded gun, Maine police have few options

By David Hench
Maine Sunday Telegram
March 25, 2001

(Portland, ME) - The moment a bank employee called police to say a man with a rifle was pacing the shopping center parking lot, police braced for the worst. A potentially distraught and irrational gunman in a crowded public place is a recipe for tragedy. Officers quickly arrived at the suburban plaza - less than a quarter-mile from the town's police station - and got more bad news. They were unable to communicate with the gunman. Sixty-year-old James Levier was deaf, and he was prepared to die.

What followed was an hourlong standoff that ended at just past 4 p.m. when Levier twice made the sign of the crucifix, and pointed his gun toward a group of officers crouched behind cruisers. Four officers fired at Levier, killing him.

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