MOUNT DESERT — A Seal Harbor man accused of a series of crimes that began early Tuesday in that village and continued with domestic assault in Bar Harbor surrendered to police following an armed standoff later in the day in Prospect Harbor.
Alan “A.J.” Walton, 32, was arrested on charges of domestic violence assault, criminal threatening, terrorizing, creating a police standoff, eluding an officer and unauthorized use of property. He was booked into the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth where, as of Wednesday morning, he remained in custody.
The series of incidents began shortly after 3:30 a.m. when Mount Desert police received a report of a pickup truck being stolen from a home on the Jordan Pond Road in Seal Harbor.
“Someone inside heard a commotion and reported it,” said Chief Jim Willis of the Mount Desert and Bar Harbor police departments.
Less than five minutes later, Officer Jarod Hardy spotted the truck on Route 3 near The Tarn heading into Bar Harbor. Hardy attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver, later determined to be Walton, drove off at a high rate of speed, leading the officer on a chase that went through downtown Bar Harbor and north on Route 3. Reaching Hulls Cove, Walton drove the wrong direction on the one-way section of the construction area, with the officer in pursuit. When speeds topped 100 mph, the officer slowed and attempted to follow at a safe distance, Willis said.
The truck turned left at the traffic light at the head of the island and turned onto Route 102, heading south. At that point, the officer lost sight of the truck, Willis said.
Just before 4:30 a.m. Hardy saw the truck on the Indian Point Road and again attempted to stop the driver. Walton sped off at speeds greater than 80 mph, causing Hardy to back off a second time.
Walton wasn’t identified as the driver until police received a report at 9 a.m. of a domestic assault at a residence near Sweet Pea Farm in Bar Harbor. Walton allegedly assaulted his estranged domestic partner, with whom his bail conditions stipulated he was to have no contact. According to Willis, he also made threats toward other people at the residence. The assault victim was taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital, treated for her injuries and released.
Walton left the scene in the stolen truck before police arrived. The incident spurred a manhunt involving all island police departments, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police and agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
That afternoon Maine State Police received a tip.
“We had information that [Walton] was passed out on a couch in Prospect Harbor,” said Maine State Police Sgt. Jason Sattler.
State police, sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Gouldsboro Police Department, Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Warden Service responded, surrounding the house at a safe distance. People in nearby homes were evacuated, and attempts were made to contact Walton by telephone and over a public address system, Sattler said. Eventually, he did respond to the police but made no indication that he was going to surrender.
At some point, Walton attempted to flee the residence but turned back after spotting officers on the perimeter, Sattler said.
“About five minutes later, he was seen in an upstairs window with a long gun,” Sattler said. The weapon later was identified as a bolt-action rifle.
Walton then made a threatening gesture toward some of the officers.
“He pointed the gun at them,” Sattler said. “He was shot at three times.”
A member of the warden service fired the shots, Sattler said. Officers were unsure if Walton had been hit, but he later responded to police calling to him over the public address system.
Walton’s mother, Theresa Hanson, showed up at a staging area near the former Stinson Canning plant demanding to see her son, Sattler said. After being told she would not be able to do that, she took matters into her own hands.
“She snuck through the woods, got by the perimeter and went into the house,” Sattler said, adding that that was a bad decision that set up a potential hostage situation.
However, she was able to talk her son into surrendering and let police know he wasn’t injured.
“They came out hand in hand, and he gave himself up to the arrest team,” Sattler said.
Hanson also was charged. The 54-year-old Seal Harbor woman was summonsed on a charge of obstructing governmental administration, Sattler said. That may be of minor consequence to her.
“Ultimately, she probably saved his life,” Sattler said, citing Walton’s mental health and substance abuse problems. “He was spiraling out of control.”
Willis said Walton also is a suspect in a burglary and tire-slashing incidents in Seal Harbor around the time the stolen truck was reported. A restaurant on Main Street was entered, and liquor and other items taken. Several people reported having their tires slashed. The investigation continues. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call police at 276-5111.
In March, Walton was arrested on a warrant charging him with the theft in January of a car from a home on the Eagle Lake Road in Bar Harbor. The 2005 Honda later was found undamaged parked at a Holland Street business.