South Portland police arrested a man at the Pine Haven Motel on Route 1 on Tuesday morning after an hourslong standoff. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

South Portland police have charged a man with kidnapping after he allegedly refused to let a woman leave a motel room early Tuesday morning.

Kristofer C. Wingate, 40, was arrested after an hourslong standoff with police at the Pine Haven Motel on Main Street, police said.

The incident began at 1 a.m. when police received a call about a man with a firearm who was refusing to let a woman leave their room. After nearly four hours, crisis negotiators persuaded Wingate to let the woman leave, police said.

She was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated. Police did not release information about her connection to Wingate, but according to motel owner Jarina Kathawala, officers said the hostage is married to Wingate.

Despite releasing the woman, Wingate refused to surrender and was forcibly removed from the room by a SWAT team, Chief Dan Ahern said. He was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Wingate was charged with kidnapping, creating a police standoff and being a fugitive from justice from Texas. He was wanted on a full extradition warrant for failing to appear in court after being charged with two counts of deadly conduct for firing a weapon.


According to a criminal background check in Texas, Wingate has previously been charged with harassment in 2002 and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2016.


Kathawala said police arrived at the motel around midnight and told her husband that a tenant from Texas, who had checked in with a woman a couple of days earlier, was holding her hostage in his room, Kathawala said.

When Kathawala woke up a few hours later, she learned that a standoff was still ongoing, and that police had evacuated neighboring tenants and brought them to a Dunkin’ up the road.

One long term motel resident named Mike, who declined to share his last name out of privacy concerns, assumed that the yelling coming from the parking lot just before dawn was coming from someone’s angry girlfriend – a relatively frequent occurrence at Pine Haven. But when he stepped outside his room, he realized the voice belonged to a police officer on a bullhorn. The officer was repeatedly asking someone to come out with their hands up, as more than a dozen armored officers surrounded a room on the other side of the parking lot.

“I thought it was, like, an army exercise,” said Mike. “It was like you see in Baghdad or something.”


Other motel tenants on Tuesday morning said that police had an armored SWAT vehicle outfitted with a type of battering ram.

Kathawala said police shared little information with her or her husband about the standoff. But she said that sometime after Wingate allowed his wife to leave, officers broke a window in the back of the building and threw a type of tear gas into Wingate’s room. She watched as SWAT knocked in Wingate’s front door, and the suspect crawled out, unable to remain in the room with the gas.

Ahern said detectives found a handgun in the motel room.

The door remained open around 7:30 a.m. after police reopened a section of Route 1 between Wallace Avenue and Pleasant Hill Road. 

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