Police respond to an armed confrontation at the Brewer Walmart on Friday, Aug. 27. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A dispute over a $600 towing fee prompted Friday’s nine-hour standoff between police and 51-year-old Patrick Mullen in the Brewer Walmart parking lot, according to a police report.

The standoff began after police responded to a disorderly conduct call at the Walmart parking lot around 4 p.m. Friday.

A man had towed Mullen’s truck and camper from the Walmart in Ellsworth to the Brewer location, after which Mullen refused to pay the $600 towing fee and “freaked out” at the driver, prompting the 911 call, according to the police incident report.

Mullen has no fixed address, according to police, though he has lived in Portland and Scarborough in recent years. He is charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and aggravated criminal mischief, both Class A crimes, and creating a police standoff and violating a condition of release, both Class E crimes.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson set bail at $10,000 cash — the amount requested by the Penobscot County district attorney’s office — Monday afternoon when Mullen made his first court appearance remotely from the Penobscot County Jail.

Mullen told the judge through the attorney of the day that he could only post $300 cash for bail.

The judge called Mullen’s criminal history, which dates back to 1988, “horrible.” Anderson said that Mullen’s record, along with warrants for failing to appear in court, made Mullen “one of the worst bail risks you could imagine.”

Mullen appeared shirtless from the jail over a Zoom link. His right arm was bandaged due to a dog bite sustained during his arrest.

His bail conditions include no possession of intoxicants or dangerous weapons, not to be at the Walmart in Brewer and not to operate a vehicle unless he is properly licensed to do so. Mullen’s license is suspended due to drunken driving convictions.

Mullen is next due in court in October.

At the Brewer Walmart parking lot on Friday, Mullen’s white 2016 GMC pickup truck was covered in “makeshift blinds” that obscured every window, including the front windshield. When police approached it, they spoke briefly with Mullen, who said he was calling AAA to negotiate paying half of the towing fee. With his identification in hand, an officer ran his name through a dispatcher and found Mullen was wanted on three open warrants for failing to appear in court on previous offenses.

At the time of Friday’s standoff, Mullen was also on bail under four active conditions that required him to seek outpatient treatment, not commit other crimes, notify the court whenever he changed addresses and avoid contact with two people.

Mullen became agitated after officers positioned their cruisers so he wouldn’t be able to drive off. He locked all the doors and rolled up his windows so officers couldn’t speak to him, the report said.

Officers said Mullen then put a gun to his head and threatened to use it, stating that he didn’t want to go back to jail.

The officers called for backup, prompting a response from the Maine State Police Special Response Team and Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies. The nearby Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant and Walmart went into lockdown, with customers having to remain in the store.

During the standoff, Mullen put his car into drive and reverse, crashing into his camper and the tow truck and causing “significant damage” to both vehicles and a police cruiser.

The standoff came to an end after officers deployed tear gas into Mullen’s vehicle, prompting him to leave the truck and run off into the parking lot. He was arrested after a police dog bit him. Authorities applied a tourniquet to his lacerated arm, and he was brought to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for treatment.

Friday’s standoff was not the first for Mullen, who has a history of arrests dating back to 1988 on charges including assault, operating under the influence, disorderly conduct, harassment, and criminal mischief, according to a criminal history check.

In December 2011, he holed up inside his Portland home after threatening to kill himself and others and burn down the residence while brandishing a gun. He was taken into custody and hospitalized at 4:30 a.m., some 13 hours after police first responded to calls to his Washburn Avenue apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 22.

Mullen has also been arrested and charged multiple times by state and local police agencies for OUIs and speeding. Before Friday, he had been most recently convicted in Hancock County in August 2020 for OUI and violating the conditions of his release.

The requirement to seek outpatient treatment stemmed from an April 2017 conviction in Washington County in which he had been convicted of domestic violence involving a dangerous weapon. He was ordered not to contact two people and seek treatment in Cumberland County. He was found not criminally responsible due to insanity.

He was also convicted of domestic violence terrorizing the following month, after a 2016 police incident in which he had pointed a gun at his chin, prompting a response from the Maine State Police’s Special Response Team.

If convicted, Mullen faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000 on the Class C crimes and up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000 on the Class E charges.

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Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.