Police set up barriers Tuesday at the intersection of Route 2 and Wesson Road in Lancaster, out of sight of a crime scene where multiple shootings are believed to have taken place in the early-morning hours on Wesson Road. State and local police and other law enforcement personnel came and went throughout the morning and early afternoon Tuesday. (BOB HOOKWAY)
Three dead in Lancaster homicide
State police and the N.H. Attorney General's Office remained tight-lipped for much of the day about the killings, but late this afternoon released a statement:
"At approximately 3:05 a.m., the Lancaster police were dispatched to a 911 call from an address located at 43 Wesson Road in Lancaster. At that address, it was discovered that a resident of that home, David Collins, age 44, was deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. A short time later, a pickup truck was discovered in flames in another location on Wesson Road. When police went to investigate this, it was discovered that there appeared to be two deceased individuals at this location."
The statement went on to say that an autopsy will be conducted on Collins, and the identity of the other deceased individuals has not yet been determined.
A neighbor on Wesson Road off Route 2 said Tuesday she was awakened at about 3 a.m. by 'popping sounds' and a woman's screams coming from the property next door.
'I'm the next-door neighbor, but I'm not sure who was living there,' said Dorothy Skeels, who said she has lived on the road since 1984.
She said although she had little to do with the neighbors, in part because of their persistent use of foul language, she believed two men and a woman lived at the home.
'The police came to ask me what I've seen and heard. I heard a popping noise that I thought was firecrackers, and I saw smoke,' said Skeels, adding that she also heard some disturbing commotion from the woman who lived there.
'The lady was very vocal and upset; I heard her screaming out there,' she said.
By mid-morning, authorities had already been at the scene for hours. They taped off the property and - without explanation -- directed reporters and photographers to go back to the bottom of the road at the intersection of Route 2, out of sight of the property or properties that are believed to be the scene of the killings, and out of sight of several neighbors' homes.
They set up barriers which were removed for a time in the late morning, then replaced to block access to Wesson Road.
Skeels was interviewed as she left her home to 'take some things to the dump,' she said, and was interviewed a while later at Weeks Memorial Library in downtown Lancaster.
Neighbors say the home at 43 Wesson Road is owned by David Collins, who has three grown children. The neighbors said Collins' wife was injured several years ago in an accident on Route 116 in Lancaster.
Also contributing to this report was Union Leader reporter Paula Tracy.