Updated: Portland police arrest 1 of 3 men detained in Congress Street gun report

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PORTLAND — One of three men detained last Thursday in relation to a report of a man waving a gun on Congress Street has been arrested by Portland Police for a June robbery. 

Police Lt. Tony Ward said this week that Ahmed Ismail, 23, was arrested on Friday for allegedly robbing a man and a woman on Smith Street on June 27 and discharging a firearm. Police have been investigating the robbery since it occurred. Ward said coverage of last week’s incident assisted police in securing probable cause to make the arrest. He would not discuss details.  

Ward confirmed that Ismail was one of three men detained when police were called to a Congress Street apartment complex on Thursday afternoon for a report of a man wielding a gun.

Congress Street, from Park Street to State Street, was closed for more than 30 minutes as police surrounded and entered 658 Congress St. with their weapons drawn. After securing the perimeter, several officers entered the complex and detained three men for questioning. 

The men were eventually released at the scene and refused to speak with reporters.

Portland Police Capt. Ted Ross said July 16 only one of the three men police questioned lived in the complex. Some of them were known to police, Ross said.

Frank Fournier, the owner of Fournier’s Gym at the corner of Avon and Congress streets, said he saw a man wave a silver handgun at a 14-year-old boy from a fourth-story window.  

Ross said the preliminary investigation produced no evidence of a handgun.

“We were not able to reveal, locate or discover a firearm and after we identified them they were free to leave,”  he said. “Without the location of a handgun, we can’t just arbitrarily arrest people.”

Fournier said he has had a continuing dispute with the men across the street. He said he started to pay one of his employees who is licensed to carry firearms to sleep overnight in his building, and confirmed that he was arrested recently for assaulting one of the men questioned by police.

“I got a 30-day jail sentence recently for defending myself and my 15-year-old nephew,” Fournier said. “I come out and whack one of them, and they arrest me and now I’ve got to do jail time. They called me a vigilante.”

Ward said this week police have been unable to substantiate the eye-witness reports of a gun being shown from the window. “Unless some other new details develop, I don’t anticipate an arrest being made,” he said.

Ismail is being held at Cumberland County Jail on $25,000 cash bail, or $50,000 property. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net

Congress Street 1.JPGCongress Street was closed for more than 30 minutes on Thursday afternoon as police investigated a complaint of a man waving a gun. (Billings photo)
Congress Street 5.JPGWitnesses said a man waved a handgun out of an open window of a third-floor apartment at 658 Congress St. (Billings photo)
Congress Street 3.JPGPortland Police detained three men in connection with the incident, but released them after no handgun was found. (Billings photo)

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p-standoff.JPGAhmed Ismail, 23, was arrested on Friday and charged with a June 26 armed robbery on Smith Street, the day after being detained with two other men in connection with a report of a man waving a gun on Congress Street. (Courtesy photo)