LEWISTON, Maine — In a press conference Monday, the Lewiston Police Department said evidence points to drug trafficking as the cause for a shooting incident early Saturday morning.
The incident happened in the area of Walnut St. and Pierce St.
The Lewiston Police Dept. announced three arrests in a press release on Saturday. That number was updated to five in a press release on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Lewiston police said they recovered four handguns, numerous shell casings, over 50 grams of heroin, $1000 in suspected drug proceeds, and various related evidence.
On Monday, police said they also recovered bullets and that one of the four guns recovered was stolen in the town of Minot.
Also on Monday, Lewiston police said they continued the investigation with the help of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; Drug Enforcement Agency; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Central Maine Violent Crime Task Force; Maine State Police and the FBI Southern Maine Gang Task Force.
Part of the continued investigation on Monday was the execution of three search warrants. As a result, officials seized an additional two handguns, various ammunition, drug trafficking related evidence, and cell phones believed to be related to the shooting.
Lewiston police said much of the evidence will undergo forensic examination, which could lead to additional arrests or charges.
The five people arrested in connection with the incident are:
- Benjamin Brown, 28, of East Boston, Mass. was arrested and charged with Class C reckless conduct with a firearm. On Monday, he was arraigned in Lewiston District Court on that charge. Bail was set at $250,000 with the conditions he does not use or possess drugs and firearms or have contact with Elisha Rios.
- Elisha Rios, 19, of Jersey City, N.J. was arrested and placed on a probation hold. He was currently on probation for a gun-related conviction.
- Shantel Chisholm, 25, of Walnut St. in Lewiston is charged with Class E violation of conditions of release. Chisholm was formerly a resident of Jersey City, N.J.
- Kevorn Haywood, 32, of Lewiston (formerly of Brooklyn, NY) was arrested and charged with class E violation of conditions of release. He was on 3 separate sets of bail conditions stemming from previous pending local criminal charges.
- David Martinez Jr., 30, of Portland, Maine (formerly of Lowell, MA) was arrested on a probation hold. Martinez was on probation for a class A robbery conviction.
"The folks that we did arrest are not from Lewiston," said Chief O'Malley. "Unfortunately, we’ve had a group of individuals who have moved into Lewiston who are, currently as our investigation is showing, engaging in drug trafficking.”
The Lewiston Police Dept. is actively investigating the incident, which happened in the area of Walnut St. and Pierce St.
Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, police received several calls reporting gunfire and fighting.
Officers responded to find some of those involved had fled into an apartment building at 21 Walnut St., which is what police said was Chisholm's address. Officers then surrounded the building.
Brown and Chisholm were seen being led out of the apartment building at 21 Walnut Street and placed in handcuffs.
Lewiston police later arrested Rios after he was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released from a local hospital.
Lewiston Police Chief Brian O'Malley said the landlord for the building at 21 Walnut St. lives out of state but has been contacted.
Chief O'Malley said moving forward, the department wants to take less of a reactive approach and more of a proactive approach to addressing violence and drug trafficking in the city.
According to Lewiston police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has agreed to send a full-time agent to Lewiston. He said the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has also agreed to send additional agents to the city.
Chief O'Malley said the department is also relying on the community to come together to decrease violence in the city, and asked that if people see something unusual, please contact Lewiston police.
When asked if Lewiston had a housing crisis, Mayor Mark Cayer said that the city is experiencing "a tight real estate market right now."
Mayor Cayer is facing an uphill battle during his first week at the helm. He believes beating substance abuse and poverty comes through a good economic development plan which are in its infancy stages.
“At some point, the community needs to take back it’s neighborhoods," said Cayer. “That’s when you’ll find drug dealers finding other places to set up shop.”