WATERVILLE — A Troy man who sparked a massive police standoff in the heart of the city Monday night was upset, distraught and suicidal but didn’t intend to harm anyone else, according to the chief negotiator who brokered his peaceful surrender.

The eight-hour-long standoff unfolded as Gary Cross, 58, sat in and walked around his pickup truck parked at the Waterville Police Department parking lot, authorities said. Cross had a loaded .357-caliber revolver but agreed to unload the weapon before he eventually surrendered shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Cross was having financial trouble and was embarrassed because he thought he was failing to provide for his family, Sgt. Jason Madore, commander of the Maine State Police negotiation team, said Tuesday afternoon.

“He had come to his wits’ end, decided he wanted to commit suicide,” Madore said. “Last night was the night that was his trigger. He needed help and he did the right thing by talking with negotiators and surrendering.”

The police standoff drew officers from multiple agencies across the region and shut down an area of nearby College Avenue for several hours Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

State police negotiators contacted Cross by cellphone and talked with him for nearly two hours before he finally agreed to surrender to protective custody. Negotiators were in a vehicle in the parking lot of the American Legion Hall, where the command center had been since the standoff began at 6:15 p.m. Monday.

State police later took Cross to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, where he still was being held Tuesday afternoon after undergoing a physical and mental health evaluation.

“It ended well for us and it ended well for him,” Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said.

Cross’ wife found a suicide note at their home Tuesday afternoon and called police, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland. State troopers were searching for his truck for about an hour before putting out an all-points bulletin about the vehicle, Madore said.

According to Massey, by the time Waterville police received the call about Cross, he already was sitting in his truck parked in the Police Department’s public parking lot, which is on Colby Circle, a quarter-mile north of downtown Waterville off College Avenue and Front Street. The massive police response came following reports that Cross was reportedly suicidal and armed with a gun. Officers checked the front parking lot and saw Cross sitting in his pickup truck in the northwest corner of the lot.

Cross told negotiators he had come to Waterville because he wanted to get away from his home so that his family would not have to pass by the area where he intended to commit suicide, Madore said.

“For law enforcement, this particular situation is about getting the person help, resolving the high stress situation as safely as possible and getting them back to their families,” Madore said.

Cross lives in a single-family home in Troy set off from a quiet residential road. The home overlooks a field and woodland, and on Tuesday there was a pickup truck with an attached plow and a recreational vehicle parked in the driveway.

A neighbor who did not want her name used said she did not know Cross well. She said the neighbors mainly kept to themselves and she did not know about the standoff in Waterville and was surprised to hear Cross was involved.

Madore said Cross will not be charged with a criminal offense, but Waterville police are considering issuing a civil violation of creating a police standoff that would carry the penalty of paying restitution in connection with the cost of the incident. The civil violation is punishable by a fine, but it also allows police to seek restitution for the expense of the standoff.

Massey and Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey estimated the overall cost of the standoff in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” In an unprompted email Tuesday to the Morning Sentinel with the subject line “Unbelievable,” Aaron Turcotte, president of the Maine State Troopers Association, called that estimate “ridiculous.”

Rumsey stood by that estimate later Tuesday, further clarifying that it includes the value of the equipment, vehicles, personnel and other expenses used during the standoff and resulting safety perimeter that authorities established around the area. Even so, it’s likely the restitution request would be a fraction of that total cost value, he said.

“We’ll eventually have to get an estimate of costs for each department,” Massey said.

At the scene Monday night and Tuesday morning were Waterville, Oakland, Fairfield and Winslow police, as well as Maine State Police, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Waterville and Fairfield fire departments. The command center in the American Legion parking lot included 30 or 40 vehicles. “The resources were immense,” Massey said.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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