Man charged in police officer shootings waives arraignment
By DOUG ALDEN New Hampshire Union Leader
Mathew O'Connor, on crutches, and Ryan Hardy, behind him, leave the District Court Monday May 16, 2016 in Manchester, N.H. after the court hearing for Ian MacPherson, who was charged with shooting them last week. Ian MacPherson's lawyer entered not guilty pleas to two charges of attempted capital murder. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
Russell MacPherson is seen in Manchester District Court Monday May 16, 2016 in Manchester, N.H. MacPherson’s son, Ian MacPherson, was charged with shooting two Manchester police offers last week. His lawyer entered not guilty pleas to two charges of attempted capital murder. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, Pool)
MANCHESTER — Dozens of Manchester police officers packed a courtroom Monday for the arraignment of a man accused of wounding two police officers.
Ian MacPherson, 32, waived arraignment and was being held without bail on two counts of attempted capital murder Monday, when the court also released documents detailing the shootouts and manhunt that followed on the West Side early Friday.
Among the details in the unsealed documents was information about where MacPherson purchased a handgun that investigators found at the scene.
MacPherson did not attend the brief hearing Monday in 9th Circuit Court-Manchester District Division, where uniformed officers and plainclothes detectives filled the courtroom.
“Unfortunately we’ve been through such tragedies of an officer being shot,” Chief Nick Willard said after the hearing. “It’s just important that each officer knows that they’re supported by one another.”
Manchester police officer Michael Briggs was shot and killed in 2006; officer Dan Doherty survived serious gunshot wounds in 2012.
Officer Matthew O’Connor was one of the last to enter the court, slowly making his way to the front row on crutches because of a gunshot wound to the leg. Officer Ryan Hardy, hit in the torso and face, sat in front with a bandage covering a wound on his right cheek.
Members of MacPherson’s family also attended, sitting quietly in the front row.
Judge Gregory Michael ordered MacPherson, of 73 Dionne Drive, held without bail on the felony charges pending a probable cause hearing scheduled for May 27. MacPherson is also charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting detention. Public Defender Sarah Rothman filed a plea of not guilty to the misdemeanor charge; no pleas can be entered on felony charges in circuit court.
MacPherson’s father, Russell MacPherson, also made a brief statement after the hearing,
“We were here today to support Ian,” he said. “He’s been suffering from mental illness issues for a long, long time. Hopefully he’s going to get help with that.”
Also Monday, the court unsealed an affidavit that describes the events that led to MacPherson’s arrest around 5 a.m. Friday. It did not mention anything about MacPherson’s mental history, but did link MacPherson to a gun investigators found in the area where he was taken into custody.
Hardy was wounded around 2 a.m. Friday while on patrol in the area of Second and Ferry streets. According to the affidavit, Hardy was checking on a white man who matched the description of an armed robber at a gas station around 1:30 a.m. Thursday on Eddy Road. Hardy called in less than a minute later, saying he had been shot by the man, who was running toward the Econo Lodge motel near the corner of Second Street and Queen City Avenue.
“Shots fired. I’ve been shot,” Hardy called on the radio at 2:03 a.m.
Witnesses who heard the shots called police; a woman on Walsh Avenue reported a man wearing what appeared to be a trenchcoat was outside her home, police detective Lucas Hobbs wrote.
At 2:33 a.m., O’Connor and New Hampshire State Police troopers located a man wearing a trench coat near Rimmon and Putnam streets. According to the affidavit, O’Connor said he was about 30 yards away from the man and ordered him to put his hands up.
The man responded with “words to the effect of ‘I am the guy you are looking for’” and began firing at police, Hobbs wrote.
O’Connor was hit in the lower right leg and taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
The shooter fled into a wooded area and police started combing the neighborhood, with residents told to shelter in place. Around 5 a.m., officers observed a man emerge from the area of 467 Bartlett St. and took him into custody. The man was later identified as MacPherson.
Police continued searching the area and found the gun, a trench coat, a black ski mask and a wallet that contained MacPherson’s ID, Hobbs wrote.
Police then spoke with MacPherson’s mother, who said the description of the man police were looking for matched what her son was wearing when she saw him the previous day, Hobbs wrote.
Prosecutors asked to have the affidavit sealed, saying information in it was known only to authorities and additional witnesses had yet to be interviewed.
On Monday, Willard thanked West Side residents for their patience during the early morning hours when the search was on for the shooter.
“We were definitely infringing on their life and we understand how difficult that is,” Willard said.
Anyone with information about the shootings who has not spoken with police is asked to contact detective Hobbs at 603-792-5519.