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Eight-hour standoff ends peacefully with suspect’s arrest

January 31, 2020

An eight-hour standoff Monday morning between Brunswick police and an armed man ended with the suspect surrendering after officers deployed tear gas to force him out of his residence, according to police.

Nick Christensen, 39, was arrested and charged with felony weapons possession, domestic violence assault, obstruction and creating a police standoff after the impasse ended around 8:20 a.m.. Christensen is in custody at the Cumberland County Jail.

The Brunswick Police Department (BPD) received a call about a domestic disturbance around 12:18 a.m. Monday, according to BPD Commander Mark Waltz. Waltz said that police were told Christensen was armed at the time of the initial report.

While evacuating Christensen’s wife and child from their 744 Neptune Drive residence—three miles from campus—an officer thought he heard the sound of a gun being loaded, according to the Times Record.

Police then established a perimeter around the residence and evacuated the building’s other inhabitants. People in surrounding buildings were advised to remain indoors.

Waltz said the department used a negotiator to try to convince Christensen to leave the building but “didn’t have much luck.”

Waltz said BPD used multiple canisters of tear gas to attempt to subdue Christensen, eventually exhausting the department’s supply, but Christensen would not exit the apartment.

The Portland Police Department’s Special Reaction Team was then summoned to assist BPD, and they brought more tear gas, which was subsequently used to flush out the suspect.

According to Waltz, a police search of Christensen’s home led to the seizure of multiple weapons, including a .44 magnum revolver, a rifle, a BB revolver, a BB pistol, a stun grenade and a crossbow.

According to Illinois court records, Christensen’s rap sheet includes convictions for aggravated discharge of a firearm, domestic battery and violating an order of protection.

The Illinois weapons conviction barred Christensen from owning firearms.

During the siege, BPD called upon Brunswick’s cultural broker to assist police in disseminating a shelter in place order to the homes surrounding the Neptune Drive apartment building, according to Waltz. Waltz said it was important to use the cultural broker, as many asylum seekers who live in the adjacent homes are not English speakers. The cultural broker helped officers assure the asylum seekers that they were safe in their homes.

Christensen is due to appear in court in May.


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