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Liberty activist, family member arrested following Keene standoff that ended in suicide

Union Leader Correspondent

July 02. 2014 5:26PM

KEENE - A man shot himself to death during a 4.5-hour stand-off with police Tuesday night on Ivy Drive.

The man, Matthew Snow, 34, of Keene was immediately taken to Cheshire Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.

"He was alive when he left” the scene, Keene Police Sgt. Steve Stewart said Wednesday.

Snow had shot himself in the chest, Stewart said.

The standoff started around 6 p.m. after Keene police officers tried to arrest Snow on an electronic bench warrant for receiving stolen property and for a parole violation.

Instead of complying with police, Snow ran through a parking lot where he pulled out a handgun and held it against his own body, police said.

That began the standoff near an apartment complex on Ivy Drive. Nearby residences were evacuated and the state police SWAT team was called to the scene. Other officers arrived from Swanzey, Marlboro and the Cheshire County Sheriff's Office to assist Keene police.

Around 10:30 p.m., Snow shot himself once in the chest. He immediately was taken to Cheshire Medical Center where he died.

Two men were arrested in connection with the standoff and shooting, one at the scene and the other at the hospital.

Around 10:09 p.m., James Cleaveland, 27, of Keene, was arrested at the scene for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Cleaveland is associated with the Free Keene group and has previously identified himself as the Robin Hood who leads activists in filling parking meters downtown to prevent the city from issuing parking tickets.

According to the Free Keene blog, Cleaveland was at the scene as a journalist and had already agreed to back away from the crime scene when he was arrested.

The other man was arrested around 11:30 p.m. at the hospital.

Paul Wood, 30, of Swanzey, was arrested and charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest.

Stewart said Wood is a relative of Snow.

“He showed up at the hospital and was insisting on being in the emergency room and getting close to the deceased,” Stewart said.

The medical examiner had not arrived yet, and family members were not being allowed access to the body at that time, Stewart said.

Both men were released on personal recognizance and given a Sept. 2 arraignment date.

The investigation into the standoff and shooting is ongoing. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Detective Joel Chidester at 603-357-9813.

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