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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Police chief, 9-year-old among those killed in April

Nerves across New Hampshire were jangled in April 2012 when an almost unheard of wave of gun violence hit the state, cresting with the murder of Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney and the shooting death of 9-year-old Hollis resident Maximos Hebert.

In all, eight people were fatally shot during a roughly one-week stretch that spanned the communities of Hollis, Greenland, Dalton, Chesterfield and Lancaster. The death that generated the most headlines was undoubtedly that of 48-year-old Maloney. ...

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Nerves across New Hampshire were jangled in April 2012 when an almost unheard of wave of gun violence hit the state, cresting with the murder of Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney and the shooting death of 9-year-old Hollis resident Maximos Hebert.

In all, eight people were fatally shot during a roughly one-week stretch that spanned the communities of Hollis, Greenland, Dalton, Chesterfield and Lancaster. The death that generated the most headlines was undoubtedly that of 48-year-old Maloney.

A week away from retirement after a quarter century in law enforcement, the beloved chief was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

Maloney was gunned down April 11 by drug suspect Cullen Mutrie when law enforcement officers attempted to apprehend him at his home. After a tense, overnight standoff Mutrie was found dead in the home along with a female companion, 26-year-old Brittany Tibbetts. Family members told The Associated Press that Tibbetts was a former girlfriend of Mutrie who returned to him recently to help him work out issues that were upsetting him. Authorities ruled her death a homicide and his a suicide.

The violence began earlier that day in the North Country of Dalton, where Joseph Besk, 48, and Christopher Smith, 45, the apparent shooter, died in a murder-suicide, according to investigators.

A third man, Wayne Ainsworth, 54, is recovering from a gunshot wound.

It was barely half a day after the Greenland shootings that Hollis Police were summoned to Runnells Bridge Road where Maximos suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The nine-year-old was rushed to a local hospital after being found and then quickly transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Pat Holt, who owns Holt Lumber Yard near the Hebert’s home, remembered Maximos as an energetic, intelligent and affectionate child.

In June, the boy’s father, Anthony Hebert, 42, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and negligent storage of firearms.

Another fatal shooting in Chesterfield, a small town near Brattleboro, Vt., followed. On April 14, police found one man dead on a dirt road and another injured from gunshot wounds. Attorney General Michael Delaney said Mark McAuley, 39, was killed by multiple gunshots and another man, Douglas Farr, 30, was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.

The following Tuesday, all too familiar news was coming from the Attorney General’s Office again. Another shooting was being investigated in the North Country, this time in Lancaster. A 44-year-old man was found dead from gunshot wounds and the remains of two people were found in a burned pickup truck nearby, according to reports.

All of this came weeks after Manchester Police officer Daniel Doherty was gunned down after a brief foot chase in the Queen City. Litchfield resident Myles Webster was convicted of attempted murder earlier this month.

In a small state accustomed to between 15 and 19 homicides a year, it was a few days of seemingly nonstop violence. The wave of shootings alarmed residents in small towns unaccustomed to violent crime and sent investigators streaming from one scene to the next.

But Ted Kirkpatrick, a University of New Hampshire criminologist and co-director of Justiceworks, said people should be reassured that despite how violent the world seems, we are actually much safer than a decade ago. Spates of violence, like the one in April, belie the statistical facts that show violent crime in a nosedive for the past 15 years.

“People can’t believe that, because they hear about these violent things, and of course they reverberate,” Kirkpatrick said. “The world feels kind of crazy.”

There’s no particular explanation as to why certain crimes – often murders and bank robberies – tend to cluster, Kirkpatrick said.

“Bad things happen to good people sometimes but they don’t happen very often, and that’s what we have to keep in mind,” he said.

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