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Maine man with gun tattoo wakes up to armed police


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Maine man with gun tattoo wakes up to armed police

Tree-removal workers mistook Michael Smith’s tattoo for a real gun when he appeared outside shirtless Tuesday morning.

By Rachel Ohm 
Morning Sentinel Staff Writer


NORRIDGEWOCK — Michael Smith went outside shirtless after being awakened Tuesday morning, yelling at tree removal workers to get off his property. The workers thought they saw a gun in his waistband and called police.

click image to enlarge

Norridgewock resident Michael Smith, with a tattoo of a gun at his waistband, stands beside a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy Tuesday morning.

David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

click image to enlarge

Trooper Scott Duff points his rifle toward the home of Michael Smith on Tuesday morning as other police call for Smith to come out of the home in Norridgewock. Tree workers called police earlier after they mistook a pistol tattoo on Smith’s stomach for a real firearm.

David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

Smith, who had gone back to bed, was awakened again minutes later – this time by Maine State Police at his front door, backed up by a group of troopers with assault rifles in his driveway. They were asking him via a megaphone to come out of his house.

Smith did have a gun. It was tattooed on his stomach. No charges will be filed against Smith. Several police standoffs with armed men have occurred in central Maine in recent years, some of them deadly.


“Obviously it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t have a weapon, but we had to respond to the initial report as if he did,” Maine State Police Trooper Scott Duff said. “We take all precautions when we don’t have the details.”


It was all just a misunderstanding, both Smith and police said.


“I got plans today. I didn’t want to get shot,” Smith said shortly after the scene was cleared by police.

Duff said he doesn’t think Smith went outside with his shirt off deliberately or to make it appear as though he had a gun and scare the workers.

“I think he had been sleeping and was wearing pajama pants,” Duff said. “I’m not sure what his mindset was, but he wasn’t pointing to his gun or anything like that.”

The tattoo of the life-size handgun is positioned on Smith’s body to look as if the barrel of the gun is tucked into the waist of his pants.



Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

[email protected]





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