May 6, 2013

Police: Westbrook man randomly attacked 2 in comic book costumes

Police subdue Adam Barnes, 31, with a stun gun after 'completely random' attacks at the Free Comic Book Day event in downtown Portland.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Police used an electric stun gun on a Westbrook man they say randomly assaulted two people Saturday at the Free Comic Book Day event in downtown Portland and also threatened police.

Police Lt. Gary Hutcheson said Adam Barnes, 31, was arrested on State Street after a man dressed as a Ghostbuster and another dressed as a Stormtrooper were assaulted outside Coast City Comics at Congress and Park streets, where people dressed in costumes had gathered about 2:30 p.m. Hutcheson said the Stormtrooper character – Owen Wood of Portland in real life –  was thrown to the ground and the Ghostbuster character was punched.

Hutcheson said Barnes, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds, was intoxicated.

“It was completely random,” said Hutcheson.

Wood, who works at the information technology department at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, said he was having fun at Free Comic Book Day before the assault.

“People were stopping and kids were dressed up in little superhero costumes,” said Wood.

Wood said someone grabbed him suddenly from behind. At first he thought it was a friend, but then the assailant started to choke him.

“My helmet fell off and he did get one good punch in,” said Wood.

He said he was then thrown to the ground.

Barnes was charged with two counts of assault, one count of disorderly conduct and five counts of criminal threatening of five police officers at the scene. He was being held at the Cumberland County Jail on $1,500 bail.

Hutcheson said random assaults are rare in the area of Saturday’s attack.

Wood said he will not let the incident keep him away from future Free Comic Book Day celebrations. He said Portland police responded immediately and returned to let him know his assailant had been subdued, arrested and jailed.

Wood said he told the police that “the force was with me,” referring to Portland police and a famous line from the “Star Wars” series in which Stormtroopers are featured.

“There were smiles all around,” said Wood, a self-described nerd.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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