WATERVILLE – A state representative from Garland was arrested Saturday morning after allegedly pointing a handgun at a man at point-blank range in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot.

The legislator, Republican Frederick L. Wintle, 58, faces a felony charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon for allegedly pulling a gun on Morning Sentinel photographer Michael Seamans of Sidney in a public area near a busy road.

Over the previous few days, people at the Legislature commented on Wintle’s increasingly erratic behavior, and he was kicked out of the hotel where he was staying in Augusta.

On Saturday morning, Wintle started talking to Seamans about an infant who died last week at Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter on Ticonic Street and said he was looking for the mother’s drug dealer, according to both Seamans and police.

News reports made no mention of drugs involved in the infant’s death and did not reveal the identities of the family.

Wintle then pulled a .22-caliber handgun out of the waistband of his pants and pointed it at Seamans in the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Seamans was “an innocent bystander,” said Sgt. Alan Main of the Waterville Police Department. “He certainly did nothing wrong and certainly did his best to try to defuse the potential harm to himself.”

Wintle represents Athens, Harmony and Ripley in Somerset County, and Charleston, Dexter and Garland in Penobscot County. He is on the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

Police described the incident Saturday as random. “We’re fairly confused ourselves as to why Wintle chose to confront the victim,” Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said.

“I did not engage him or instigate him in any way,” Seamans said. “All I knew was there was a loaded gun pointed at me from a couple feet away, pointed right at my midsection.”

Seamans stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts around 8:30 a.m. to buy coffee on his way to work. As he walked to the entrance, he said, Wintle was leaning against a silver truck, staring at him. Seamans wasn’t carrying his camera and had never seen Wintle before.

As Seamans stirred his coffee, he said, Wintle continued to watch him through the window from outside.

When Seamans left, Wintle yelled something unintelligible, and Seamans asked him to repeat it. Wintle then walked toward Seamans and asked if he knew about the boy killed in Waterville.

Seamans asked him if he was referring to the boy found dead in South Berwick. The body of Camden Hughes, 6, was found last Saturday, and his mother, Julianne McCrery of Texas, has been charged with his murder.

“(Wintle) said, ‘Well, I’m looking for the mother’s drug dealer in Waterville,’ ” Seamans said. A 12-week-old infant died Wednesday at the city’s homeless shelter.

Rumsey said he doesn’t know why Wintle was focused on the infant’s death.

“We have no knowledge that either he or the victim are related to that incident in any way whatsoever,” Rumsey said, adding that the cause of the infant’s death has not yet been determined.

Seamans said he didn’t know to what Wintle was referring.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t know anything.’ I didn’t even know what he was talking about,” Seamans said. “He was mumbling things I couldn’t quite understand.”

Wintle then lifted his shirt to show the gun tucked in his waistband. Seamans said Wintle pulled it out and pointed it at him.

Seamans said he started backing away to put other vehicles between him and the potential gunman. He also called 911 and reported Wintle’s license plate number.

Wintle had put the gun away by the time his wife emerged with her coffee. Seamans said it appeared that Wintle’s wife knew nothing about what had happened.

An unidentified woman reached at Wintle’s residence later said Wintle’s wife did not wish to comment.

Police found Wintle across the street at Central Maine Motors, on Airport Road.

Main said Wintle was standing in the dealership’s parking lot with his cup of coffee when police arrived. He ignored requests by police to remove his gun, Main said.

When Main removed the gun himself, he discovered it had live rounds in the magazine but none in the chamber, he said.

Wintle declined to discuss the incident with police at the Waterville police station.

He couldn’t make the $3,500 cash bail and was taken to the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, Rumsey said. If he makes bail, he will have to meet a number of conditions, Rumsey said, including that he can’t possess weapons or contact the victim.

What occurred Saturday morning appeared to be an escalation of Wintle’s behavior last week.

Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin said some people at the Capitol reported Wintle had been acting strangely, and police officers periodically checked in on Wintle’s Labor committee meeting Friday.

Capitol Police, a branch of the Department of Public Safety, is a law enforcement agency responsible for the Capitol complex.

“There were members of the public and members of the Legislature who were concerned about Rep. Wintle’s behavior this week,” Gauvin said. “There’s nothing criminal, nothing outlandish that was quantifiable, but there were some concerns expressed.”

It is part of the agency’s regular process to briefly monitor various meetings, so that’s what the officers did, Gauvin said. “As far as our regular process, we checked on the committee a few times.”

He declined to mention specific things Wintle did or said.

Lance Dutson, spokesman for the House Speaker’s Office, also declined to mention specific aspects of what he called Wintle’s “increasingly erratic behavior.”

“His behavior was not something you’d expect in that working circumstance,” Dutson said.

Wintle’s electronic badge to the buildings at the Capitol has been turned off, Dutson said. The office has also requested that as a condition of bail, Wintle not be allowed to return to the Capitol.

Speaker of the House Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, is working with the Department of Public Safety to determine what happens next with Wintle’s legislative position. “It’s a complicated issue, again, because it’s not an employee-employer relationship,” Dutson said.

“The speaker can’t emphasize enough how concerned he’s been about the photographer,” Dutson said. “Hopefully we can make sure everybody is safe. That’s the first and foremost priority here.”

Another incident preceded the Saturday morning gun threat, when Wintle was kicked out of the hotel where he’d been staying.

Wintle tried to fight another patron of the Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta and was asked to leave Friday morning, said General Manager Roger Bintliff.

State Rep. Kenneth Ferdette, R-Newport, District 25, said Saturday he visited Wintle at the Kennebec County jail twice after Wintle’s arrest Saturday morning. He said he and other friends were trying to arrange bail for his release.

Ferdette, a lawyer, said that Wintle is a religious person.

“I would certainly characterize Fred as being someone who is religious — I’ve attended church with him in Exeter, so he’s certainly a religious individual,” Ferdette said. “We think it’s an unfortunate incident; right now we’re just trying to get things sorted out and I have had conversations with different people regarding bail.”

Wintle is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. on July 26.

Anyone in Maine can possess a gun unless they are on a prohibited-persons list, Rumsey said. A permit is needed, however, to carry a concealed weapon, and Wintle did not have the required permit.