Widower of D-H shooting victim: 'I grieve in the flesh'

Sunday News Correspondent
September 17. 2017 1:08AM
Robert Ferriere, right, is consoled outside Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon last Tuesday after witnessing the fatal shooting of his wife, Pamela Ferriere, in the ICU. Her son, Travis Frink, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing. (JEFFREY HASTINGS)

Pamela Ferriere

GROTON - The widower of the woman who police say was shot and killed by her son in the intensive care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said he wants his wife, Pamela Ferriere, to be remembered for how she lived, not how she died.

"I want people to know who she really was. A beautiful, lovely person to everyone. I don't know why he did what he did," Robert Ferriere said in an interview Friday with the New Hampshire Sunday News.

"I didn't even have time to take a step to stop him," Ferriere sobbed, saying he will be forever haunted by the expression on his wife's face at the realization that her son, Travis Frink, was going to shoot her.

With the roar of the gunshots still ringing in his ears, Ferriere watched Frink "nonchalantly" put the semi-automatic handgun back in a bag and walk past him, leaving spent shell casings in his wake.

"I will survive. I will go on. Evidentially, God has something for me to do," Ferriere said, as he sat at his dining room table and prepared to make the drive to Connecticut for his wife's interment at South Killingly Cemetery on Saturday. A New Hampshire service will be held next Saturday at the Rumney Baptist Church.

"I grieve in the flesh. But I know she is where she wants to be - in heaven with the Lord."

Frink, 48, of Warwick, R.I., pleaded not guilty in Grafton County Superior Court on Wednesday to first-degree murder charges. He was apprehended Tuesday afternoon moments after he shot his 70-year-old mother in the ICU unit of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in front of hospital employees, according to court documents. The shooting prompted massive police mobilization and evacuation or shelter-in-place orders across the Lebanon hospital campus.

According to Ferriere, Frink served in the Marines, suffered from PTSD and displayed some paranoid tendencies. Frink believes that the military had put a "chip" in his head, according to Ferriere.

Frink underwent surgery to remove a nonmalignant tumor behind his eye, but some of it remained. He was scheduled to undergo radiation to further shrink or kill it but, Ferriere said, Frink was convinced that if he was exposed to the targeted energy, "the chip would make him burn up."

Frink was prescribed medication for his behavior issues, but its side effects slowed his mental acuity and caused weight gain, according to Ferriere, so he frequently stopped taking it.

His behavior prompted his involuntary hospitalization several times, and cost him several good jobs writing computer code, said Ferriere.

More recently, Frink had been taking his medication, had landed another good paying job and had recently reconnected with a female Marine with whom he had served. They had begun a long-distance relationship and she began flying to Rhode Island to stay with him on weekends. They recently became engaged.

Ferriere recounted that he first met Pam when they both attended Griswold High School in Jewett City, Conn., 57 years ago. They had abutting lockers, as her maiden name was Etzel, and shared a few of the same classes.

"I had feelings for her, but was tall, skinny and very bashful and didn't have the guts to express them."

She went on to college, and got married half-way through her sophomore year. He studied electronics at Ellis Technical School in Danielson, Conn. He too got married.

Their paths crossed again some 18 years later, when she was newly divorced with three young sons. Ferriere said he had separated from his wife of 11 years and was in the process of getting divorced.

Pam encouraged Ferriere to accompany her to Bible study classes and then to church.

He credits her with pointing him to God. Despite his feelings for Pam, Ferriere returned to his wife, who died of cancer seven years later.

About a year after his first wife's death, Ferriere and Pam began dating and then married.

"I have 20 wonderful years of memories," Ferriere said.

During her career, Pam spent 25 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant, then went back to school and learned how to do medical coding and billing. In 2008, after the stock market dipped and the value of Pam's retirement funds dropped dramatically, Ferriere said, they made the decision to cash out and invest in land.

They looked at property and settled on a 16-acre mountainside parcel in Groton. They had one acre cleared and parked a camper where they spent most weekends and their vacations. Pam later landed a job with Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.

Ferriere was still working in Rhode Island, and the couple had decided that if her job at Speare was good, they would move to New Hampshire full time. But before that could happen, Ferriere suffered a heart attack, and Pam returned to care for him.

When Ferriere was laid off, and at age 67 was unable to find work, the couple decided to sell their Connecticut home and moved to Groton full time five years ago.

In her retirement, Pam volunteered at Day-Away, a program that provides supervised and safe activities for people in the early stages of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

"She really loved that work," Ferriere said.

He asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Day-Away program in Bristol that operates out of Our Lady of Grace Chapel.

Ferriere said his wife "brought hundreds of people to the knowledge of God," and that will be her lasting legacy.

"I don't like what he did, but I am praying that he will have clarity. I want him to come to his senses and realize what he has done, and I hope that it makes him cry out to the Lord. I'm praying for his salvation. I've already forgiven him."

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