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Christopher Whitehead, 40, Merrimack

Charged with shoplifting, operating after suspension and conduct after an accident

Arrested April 15, 2012 by Amherst Police.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Amherst police investigate shooting that followed shoplifting incident

AMHERST – Police are investigating who shot at an accused shoplifter during a wild scene in Amherst on Sunday afternoon.

Police were called to Cub Circle shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sunday for a report of shots fired.

Once on the scene, police determined that two shots had been fired at or in the direction of Christopher Whitehead, 40, of Merrimack, and his car, Amherst Police Chief Peter Lyon said.

Further investigation determined that about 15 minutes earlier, a man had fled the Walmart on Amherst Street with a television and other items and caused two minor accidents on Amherst Street, Lyon said.

On Cub Circle, a small residential street about a half mile from the Walmart, police said Whitehead’s car hit several mailboxes and someone in a Mercury SUV fired two shots from a handgun.

One of the shots hit Whitehead’s vehicle and police haven’t found the other bullet, Lyon said.

Whitehead was arrested and charged with shoplifting, operating after suspension and conduct after an accident, all of which are misdemeanors, Lyon said.

Police have a suspect in the shooting, but haven’t made an arrest. They also are still looking into the circumstances of the shooting, including where the shooter was and whether he or she chased Whitehead after the alleged shoplifting or accidents, Lyon said.

“We believe we’ve identified the suspect,” he said. “It remains under investigation.”

Lyon said Amherst police didn’t pursue Whitehead onto Cub Circle but were in the area and arrived on the scene quickly. Anyone with information is asked to call Amherst Police at 673-4900.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).