May 20, 2013

Medical examiner: Saco man died from self-inflicted gunshot

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SACO — An autopsy has determined that the man who provoked a police standoff Saturday then set his house on fire before his body was found, died of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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The home at 16 Hillview Ave. that burned following a standoff Saturday night in Saco. Charles Scontras, who was recently separated from his wife, set the fire and and died inside from a self-inflicted gunshot.

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The body of Charles Scontras, 58, of 16 Hillview Ave. was found late Saturday after the fire that destroyed the two-story house was extinguished.

The standoff began about 2 p.m. Saturday when Scontras’ estranged wife, Diane, was escorted to the house by a Saco police officer at her request to retrieve some belongings.

Neighbors said Scontras had ordered his wife to leave the house the week before and boarded it up. 

On Saturday, the police officer saw smoke coming from the house and sent Diane Scontras to a neighbor.

Witnesses said Scontras, who had several firearms, broke a second-floor window and fired a shot. 

The Maine State Police tactical team was called in and more than a dozen troopers surrounded the house. Police had intermittent contact with Scontras by cellphone but he refused to come out. About 6 p.m., smoke was again spotted coming from the house, then started billowing out. 

By 8 p.m., the Scontras house was in ruins but fire investigators had to wait for the ashes to cool to look for the body.

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