Ellsworth standoff suspect arraigned

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Joe Carl Cunningham, 48, was arraigned Sunday by District Judge James Ellis on charges of burglary, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, terroristic threats, simple assault, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering another person.


Cunningham, of Ellsworth, kept police at bay for about 19 hours during a standoff this weekend.


Ellis said Cunningham’s bond was set $250,000.


Cunningham surrendered Saturday morning after a 19-hour standoff with state police at a home along Oak Street in Ellsworth.


According to state police, Cunningham went to the 36 Oak St. home he once shared with an unidentified woman who currently lives there about 4 p.m. Friday. He ordered the woman, who was with her boyfriend and 15-year-old daughter, to open the door or he would harm them. State police said Cunningham had weapons at the time.


Once inside, an argument ensued, and Cunningham left to retrieve additional weapons from his car. He was then allowed to re-enter the home.


While Cunningham was outside, the boyfriend also retrieved a weapon, and the two men exchanged gunfire when he returned to the home.


Cunningham suffered a nonlife-threatening gunshot wound to his upper body, while the woman and boyfriend managed to escape the home and call 911. The teenager remained in the home with Cunningham, and was held hostage for a period of time.


At some point, the teen managed to get control of the weapons and flee.


Cunningham remained inside the house overnight, keeping police at bay until about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, when he surrendered.


Cunningham was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.


He remains in the Washington County jail on bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. in front of District Judge Curtis Thompson.


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