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AG says Manchester fatal shooting in Rite Aid parking lot was self-defense

By DAMIEN FISHER - InDepthNH.org | Aug 1, 2023

In this photo, Mr. Bright is running past the hood of his vehicle to retreat from Mr. Landry. Mr. Reischer had attempted to retreat between his vehicle and Mr. Bright’s parked car. Mr. Reischer is obstructed in this image by a tree branch circled in red. Mr. Landry is on the sidewalk. (Courtesy New Hampshire Attorney General)

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – A year ago, a lifetime of mental illness erupted into a deadly, random outburst that left one man shot dead.

Now, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has ruled there will be no charges brought against the shooter.

Jonathan Bright, 35, thought he was about to be murdered by the stranger, Isaac Landry, who suddenly appeared in the Manchester Rite Aid parking lot where Bright was hanging out with a friend. Landry was yelling and brandishing a large tree branch.

“How quickly he [Mr. Landry] was moving it [the large stick], and how fast he was running at me, and the screaming, it was just immediate red flags, and again like I said, when he got to the point where he’s like, now coming after me, and I have no idea why, and he’s screaming at me, I literally felt as though I was going to be murdered by that guy,” Bright told investigators. “I have no idea why it happened, I have no idea where he came from, I have no idea what his motive was to initiate that entire process from the bush. It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I literally thought he was going to kill me if he got his hands on me or my gun at that point.”

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office released its final report Monday on the June 28, 2022 fatal shooting that took place in the parking lot at the Elm Street Rite Aid, concluding that Bright was justified in using his Glock 19 pistol that evening, killing Landry.

Landry, 22, suffered from mental illness for years, according to the statement his parents gave to investigators. He had been hospitalized at least twice during his life due to episodes related to his illness. The parents told investigators their son probably suffered from bi-polar disorder, though he did not have a formal diagnosis.

In April of that year, he had been treated at the New Hampshire Hospital on an involuntary hold after an episode likely brought on because he was skipping his medications, the report states. Landry also suffered from hearing loss as a child and was known to not wear his hearing aids, according to the report.

On the night of June 28, 2022, Bright met his friend, Stephen Reischer, to show off his rental car. Bright was driving a red Mercedes as his own car was being serviced. The pair often met after work at the parking lot to catch up, according to the report.

While they were talking, Landry walked past them, muttering to himself as he entered a clump of trees and bushes at the parking lot’s perimeter. Neither Bright nor Reischer had ever encountered Landry until this moment.

Seconds later, Landry emerged from trees acting in a strange and violent manner, according to the report. Bright said Landry was “going berserk,” and carrying a large tree branch as he approached Bright and Reischer, screaming and yelling.

Landry smashed the branch against the pavement, breaking it into several pieces, and then started running at the men, according to the report. Bright and Reischer ran away from Landry, not really knowing what was going on, but scared for their lives, according to the report. Bright first tried to get into his car, with Landry close behind.

Bright retreated to the parking lot, unable to get into the car before Landry could get to him, according to the report. Bright yelled at Landry to stop four or five times, backing away from him the whole time. Bright finally pulled his pistol from a waistband holster and told Landry to stop or he would shoot.

Landry did not stop, according to the report, and kept coming at Bright in a threatening manner. Bright shot Landry once in the chest.

Landry stopped, and stood for a moment, bleeding from his chest. Bright told him to lie flat on the ground and called 911 for help. Bright urged the 911 operator to hurry, and cooperated with police, according to the report.

Bright’s attorney Sean List said: “I never had a doubt that my client’s actions were justified. This was a tragic incident where John lawfully used force to protect himself from an unrelenting attacker. Although the burden of the investigation has now been lifted, John still mourns the incident and sends his sincerest condolences to the deceased’s family. We commend the diligent efforts of the Department of Justice in their thorough investigation of this matter and hope this conclusion brings some level of closure to all those affected.”


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