GREENLAND, N.H. – A man suspected of killing a New Hampshire police chief just days from retirement and wounding four other officers was found dead along with a female acquaintance early Friday, ending an overnight standoff that plunged a small town into fear and grief.
The officers were part of the state attorney general’s drug task force and were trying to serve a search warrant on Cullen Mutrie around 6 p.m. Thursday when Mutrie opened fire. Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was killed and four detectives from other departments were injured. Two were in stable condition Friday; the other two were treated and released.
Authorities spoke to Mutrie a short time after the shooting from outside the home but things soon went silent, said Attorney General Michael Delaney. Around 2 a.m., a tactical team placed a robot equipped with a video camera in the home, and it detected the bodies. Authorities were still trying to determine when Mutrie and the woman died, but Delaney said they both died of gunshot wounds in either a murder-suicide or double suicide.
The police shootings devastated Greenland, a town of 3,500 near the seacoast that had just seven police officers including 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,” Delaney said.
Maloney had 26 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 12 as chief of the Greenland department.
Jacqueline DeFreze, who lives a half-mile down the road, said 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.”
Selectman Ken Bellevue said he was heartbroken. He last spoke to Maloney Monday night, and recalled that the chief was looking forward to his retirement and perhaps starting a new job down the road.
“We’re going to make sure we get through this,” he said. “This is our town.”
The two detectives who remained in the hospital after being shot in the chest were both wearing bulletproof vests, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. Dr. Timothy Pike, chief medical officer of Portsmouth Hospital, said both were comfortable, in stable condition, and were with their families.
Lee Miller, who lives next door to where the shootings took place, said she heard at least six shots on Thursday. Fearing for her 12-year-old grandson who was visiting her, she said she went to the window and saw someone on the ground. Moments later, police knocked on her door, telling them to run outside and take cover behind a police cruiser.
Miller told The Associated Press that she had complained to police repeatedly about suspected drug activity at Mutrie’s house and had been told it was under investigation.
“The neighbourhood was raped by him. He came in and took over. And that was the end of our lives. There were fights out there at three, four o’clock in the morning,” she said. “I moved my bed all around the room to get away from the window that faces the driveway. I said the next place I’m going to be sleeping is the bathtub.”
Miller said Mutrie had lived in the house for seven years.
The Portsmouth Herald reported in February 2011 that Mutrie 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 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 hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the chest; and Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, a seven-year veteran of the Rochester police department, who was hospitalized after surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.
Delaney said he was proud of the work investigators have done under difficult circumstances.
“The law enforcement community in New Hampshire is certainly grieving this morning, but they have come together â€” federal, state and local agencies â€” to do the job that law enforcement officers do every day, secure the safety and protection of our citizens.”
Associated Press Writers Norma Love in Concord and David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.