WINTHROP — A Winthrop man was found dead in his Spruce Street home Monday after a seven-hour standoff with police that kept students who lived nearby at school. Police said Ronald Tripp, 49, likely died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after
10:30 a.m. There were no other injuries reported.

Winthrop Superintendent Gary Rosenthal said school officials had students who walk to school and those bused to the downtown area stay at school under supervision until their parents arrived as a safety precaution. The standoff began about
8 a.m. when Tripp’s wife reported a domestic violence threat at the police station, Capt. Ryan Frost said.

Frost said the woman and a child fled the home because of the threat, leaving Tripp alone inside the home at 37 Spruce St.

Tripp came out of the house a couple of times to talk to officers within a few moments of their arrival.

“He just ordered us off his property,” Frost said. “He would not talk to us.”

Frost said officers tried to call Tripp several times. Each time he hung up.

Frost said officers then called the Maine State Police Tactical Team for assistance.

“A short time after calling state police, we heard one gunshot from the residence,” Frost said.

Police secured the area as they awaited the tactical team’s arrival. One neighboring home was evacuated. Frost said tactical team members secured a second home that could not be safely evacuated.

State police barricaded the entrance to High Street off Route 133. The middle school and high school, which are a short distance away through the woods, were put in what Frost described as a lockout.

Students and staff were asked to stay inside the building, Frost said. Students who live in that area and downtown were kept at their schools until parents arrived to pick them up.

After hearing the gunshot, police spent several hours gathering information and securing warrants to search the home and arrest Tripp on charges of terrorizing and criminal threatening, Frost said.

Once armed with the warrants, the tactical team entered the home around 3 p.m. and found Tripp dead. His body was expected to be taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.

“Most likely it’s a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Frost said.

Monmouth police and the Winthrop Ambulance Service assisted. Most police vehicles left the area about 4 p.m.

“We were hoping since 10:30 this morning that maybe this issue would have resolved itself,” Rosenthal said Monday afternoon. When it wasn’t resolved by the 2:10 p.m. dismissal, students who live near the area of the standoff were asked to stay and their parents were notified through an instant alert system.

“We didn’t want to alarm anyone,” Rosenthal said. “It doesn’t affect anybody in the schools per se, but research shows schools are the safer place.”

Rosenthal estimated that 25 students were affected.

“We’ve tried to be proactive and think of every option,” he said, adding, “Parents have been great.”

Tripp had no criminal history, Frost said. It was not known if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if he had a history of mental health problems.

“We tried to engage in a conversation with him. That’s our goal,” Frost said. “He simply did not want to do that. He did not want to talk to us. We thought we had him at one point, but he just wouldn’t communicate.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.