April 15. 2012 11:11PM

Greenland police chief was shot saving injured officer

Union Leader Correspondent

Newmarket Lt. Kyle True, along with his daughter Maddy, gives the Policeman's Prayer during a Community Prayer Service at the Newmarket Community Church Sunday evening. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
NEWMARKET — Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was remembered Sunday night for his heroic effort to save fellow officers on the night he was gunned down by Cullen Mutrie.

At a community prayer service to honor Maloney and the four other officers shot outside Mutrie's Greenland home Thursday, Newmarket Police Chief Kevin Cyr said Maloney “ran through gunfire and dragged wounded officers to safety with no concern for his own well-being.”

He paid the ultimate sacrifice, Cyr said, “and I have lost a friend.”

More than 250 people, including about 70 police officers from a dozen local police departments and their families, filled Newmarket Community Church to remember the 48-year-old Maloney, who suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Newmarket Detective Scott Kukesh, 33, and Rochester Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, remain hospitalized with bullet wounds to their chests.

From his hospital bed, Kukesh wrote a letter that Cyr read at the vigil.

In the letter, Kukesh thanked the community for its overwhelming support, the Newmarket officers who have voluntarily stood outside his hospital room since the night of the shooting, and especially Maloney.

“He should be recognized publicly as a hero who ultimately sacrificed his life to save mine and probably other officers on this fateful day,” Kukesh wrote in his letter.

Kukesh continued, “With the constant presence of an officer and friend outside my door, we continue to be reminded of what a special group of people we are lucky to have in our lives.”

Kukesh's prognosis is good. The bullet hit him above his vest, but missed nearly all his vital organs, Cyr said.

Murphy also continues to improve and is now off a breathing tube, he said.

During the prayer service, the Rev. Joshua Gray lit five candles to honor the officers, which also included Dover Detective Gregory Turner, 32, and University of New Hampshire Detective Eric Kulberg, 31. Turner suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder while Kulberg was shot in the arm. Both were treated and released from the hospital.

Maloney and the officers were shot by Mutrie when they showed up to serve a search warrant in a drug case. Mutrie later shot and killed his estranged girlfriend, Brittany Tibbetts, 26, and then turned the gun on himself inside his home.

With the tragedy still so fresh, Cyr spoke of the camaraderie in the law enforcement community, especially in times like this.

“We pull together as brothers and sisters,” he said. “Our support system is very strong.”

Susan Nolan, a chaplain and former Seacoast journalist who helped organize the event, praised the officers for putting their lives on the line every day.

“These are the most kind, compassionate, amazing, wonderful officers in the world. It's extraordinary,” she said.

Many of those who attended the service said they knew the officers who were shot and felt they needed to come to show their support.

Newfields resident Susan Kalish has known the Kukesh family for years.

“It's just so surreal. It's just like a bad movie and you know the characters. It's just too much,” she said.

Part-time Newmarket dispatcher Karen Bartlett of North Hampton knew the wounded officers and Maloney well.

“It really hasn't sunk in yet,” she said.