Chief nearing retirement killed in New Hampshire drug bust
GREENLAND, N.H. -- A man opened fire on police during a drug bust Thursday night, killing a New Hampshire police chief just days from retirement and injuring four officers from other departments. Early Friday, the shooter remained holed up in the home with a woman, police said.
The shooting devastated Greenland, a town of 3,500 near the seacoast that had just seven police officers including Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was due to retire in less than two weeks.
"In those final days, he sacrificed his life in public service as a law enforcement officer in New Hampshire," Attorney General Michael Delaney said early Friday.
Maloney had 26 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 12 as chief of the Greenland department. Two officers were shot in the chest and were in intensive care early Friday. Two others were treated and released, one with a gunshot wound to the arm and the other with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The four injured officers were from other area departments and were working as part of a drug task force.
John Penacho, chairman of the town's Board of Selectman, said Maloney was married with children.
"It's a blow to all of us. You're stunned. It's New Hampshire, it's a small town," he said. "We're stunned. I mean all of us. It's an unbelievable situation."
Jacqueline DeFreze, who lives a half-mile down the road from the house where the shooting happened, said she was devastated by reports that the chief had been shot. She'd planned to attend a surprise party for his retirement.
"I'm a wreck. He was just the greatest guy," said DeFreze, a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Rye. "He's kind-hearted, always visible in the community."
Early Friday, streets around the home were blocked off and officers stood at roadblocks in the pouring rain.
State police and officers from many departments responded after the initial call around 6 p.m. Delaney said he couldn't provide much other information about the shooting.
"We do have an active armed standoff at a home and we're simply not going to provide any information right now that may jeopardize that situation," he said. "We are working with federal state and local law enforcement to try to obtain a peaceful resolution."
Gov. John Lynch was at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where the officers were taken. He asked residents to pray for the injured officers and Maloney's family.
"My thoughts and prayers and those of my wife, Susan, are with the family of Chief Michael Maloney. Chief Maloney's unwavering courage and commitment to protecting others serves as an example to us all," he said.
The tree-lined street, closed off by police, features single-family homes and duplexes. The shootings took place at 517 Post Road, a 2-bedroom, 1½ -story structure that's listed as owned by the Beverly Mutrie Revocable Trust, according to tax assessor records.
The Portsmouth Herald reported in February 2011 that Cullen Mutrie, 29, was a resident of the home on 517 Post Road and had been arrested and charged with possession of anabolic steroids.
The newspaper reported that the steroids were found in the home when officers went to confiscate guns after Mutrie was arrested on domestic assault charges. According to a police affidavit, the steroids were found in Mutrie's living room on July 24, 2010, but were not verified by the state crime lab until Jan. 18.
The town's schools will be closed Friday, because law enforcement officers are using the elementary school as a staging area.
Asked what the town will do to help residents cope with the tragedy, Penacho said "We'll do whatever we need to do."
Now split by I-95, the town is one of the oldest settlements in the state.
The other officers shot were: Detective Gregory Turner, 32, a six-year veteran of the Dover police department, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder and released; Detective Eric Kulberg, 31, a seven-year veteran of the University of New Hampshire police department, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm and released; Detective Scott Kukesh, 33, a 10-year veteran of the Newmarket police department, who was in intensive care awaiting surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest; and Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, a seven-year veteran of the Rochester police department, who was in intensive care after surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.