Two Manchester Police Officers were shot on the city’s West Side early this morning and a massive manhunt, which includes city and state police and several helicopters, including at least one from the Massachusetts State Police. Details of the incident are few, but it appears the shots were fired at approximately two this morning at the corner of Second and Ferry streets in the Granite Square section of the West Side, wounding a police officer. Roughly half an hour later, a gun battle took place between the shooter and pursuing police officers at the corner of Putnam and Dubuque streets, right behind Gossler Park School, where a second officer was wounded. The officers are believed to be recovering at Catholic Medical Center and Elliot Hospital. In an interview with Girard at Large, Mayor Ted Gatsas said he’d spoken in person with both officers who were resting comfortably and with their wives.
As the suspect is still at large, Superintendent of Schools Debra Livingston ordered all schools on the West Side closed for the day. While Gossler Park, Parkside and West are all close by the area where the shootings took place, Livingston’s also ordered Parker Varney and Northwest closed as well. Principals will report to the schools to receive students who didn’t get the message and will keep them in the schools, which will be in lock-down, if necessary. Gatsas said all private schools and daycare centers on the West Side were contacted and asked not to open because of the present danger. He also said that Catholic Medical Center was asking those who would visit family or friends in the hospital to say away if at all possible.
Girard at Large listeners notified the show that West Side daycare facilities St. Peter’s Home and Alphabets Learning Center both announced they would remain closed for the day as would the Founders Academy Public Charter School. Listeners also advised that Mt. Zion Christian School declared a two hour delay with a possible cancellation because of the situation.
Police issued a “shelter in place” recommendation for the areas around Putnam, Dubuque and Wayne streets. Gatsas suggested in his interview that a broader section of the West Side remain home and alert for people or things that didn’t appear to belong. He suggested residents call the police station at 6 6 8 8 7 1 1 with any information. The shooter was described as a white male with long hair, a green trench coat and black book bag. He is considered armed and dangerous. Police are encouraging motorists to avoid the search areas, which include Amory, Bartlett and Blucher streets in addition to the those areas where the shooting took place.
NOTE: This story has been substantially updated with additional info since originally being published this mornin at 6.
UPDATE: Manchester PD lifted the Shelter in Place recommendation at 10:18 AM.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announced his office has begun a criminal investigation into the arrest of fifty year old Worcester, Mass resident Richard Simone, Jr. in Nashua, to determine whether or not police used excessive force during the arrest. Simone led troopers from Massachusetts and New Hampshire and police in Nashua on a dangerous high speed chase that ended in a Nashua neighborhood.
In video of the event, which was captured on live T V from a helicopter following the chase, Simone’s car is surrounded by troopers and police who either had their weapons drawn or were holding back dogs on a leash. As Simone exited his pickup truck, he got down on his knees and put his hands on the ground. Immediately thereafter, a New Hampshire state trooper punched Simone in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground, and continued to throw punches at his head and face as a Massachusetts trooper joined in throwing several punches about his head as well, while about half a dozen other officers looked on.
Colonel Robert Quinn of the New Hampshire State Police, Colonel Richard McKeon of the Massachusetts State Police and Chief Andrew Lavoie of the Nashua Police Department have assured their agencies’ fullest cooperation with the investigation. Pursuant to protocol, in an effort to protect the investigation, the names of the officers involved in the incident are being withheld this time. Once the investigation has reached a point where the release of the names would not impact the integrity of the investigation, a further press release with the names will be issued. Attorney General Foster is asking anyone who may have witnessed the event to contact investigators Richard Tracy or Todd Flanagan 271-3671.
The Senate approved the Ten Year Highway Plan, which prioritizes the State’s transportation, road and bridge projects across the state, yesterday. While the plan includes several big projects that have been long in coming, it does not include funding to continue studying commuter rail. Of local interest, the plan includes the widening of Route 101 in Bedford, reconfiguring the Amoskeag Traffic Circle, including Exit 7 on Route 2 9 3, the new Exit 4-A off I-9 3 in Derry, widening the Everett Turnpike from Merrimack to Bedford and widening I-93 from Bow through Concord. The bill now goes back to the House to see if it will concur with the changes made by the senate. If not, then it will to a committee of conference.
That’s news from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next.
NOTE: This news read has been substantially revised with updated information on the police shootings in Manchester.