More than 500 participate in NH Heroes charity ride
EPPING - In a line of more than 500 motorcycles, one stood out.
Greenland police Officer Jamie Cormier rode the motorcycle once ridden by slain Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney in Sunday's 'Local N.H. Heroes Charity Motorcycle Ride' from Epping to Greenland, to pay tribute to Maloney and to honor the four officers wounded in a deadly gunfight outside Cullen Mutrie's Greenland home on April 12.
Many of those who rode Sunday were police officers. Others were family of officers, as well as friends, neighbors and strangers who felt compelled to join the cause.
'You never forget about things like this,' Salem Officer Greg Pepper said of last month's shootings, which sent shockwaves through New Hampshire's law enforcement community.
Pepper was one of three Salem officers who participated in the 18-mile charity ride, which raised $12,000 to benefit the wounded officers and the Maloney Trust Fund, which was established to assist the chief's family.
The ride, which included 533 riders and 735 participants, began at American Legion Post 51 in Epping, looped around Portsmouth Avenue in Greenland, then travelled to Stratham, where motorcyclists gathered at Stratham Hill Park.
'I thought it would be big, but I never thought it would get to this magnitude,' said Epping resident Angela Anderson, who first thought of the idea for a charity ride the day after the tragedy.
Anderson said she approached Epping friend Suzanne Lattime, whose son, John Emerson, is a police officer in Stratham and who is friends with one of the wounded officers.
Anderson told her that something had to be done.
'This really hit home,' Lattime said.
Maloney and the four officers serving with the Attorney General's Drug Task Force were shot during a drug raid at Mutrie's residence.
Mutrie opened fire on the officers and later shot and killed his estranged girlfriend, Brittany Tibbetts, before killing himself, according to police reports.
The wounded officers were Newmarket Det. Scott Kukesh, 33; Rochester Det. Jeremiah Murphy, 34; Dover Det. Gregory Turner, 32 and University of New Hampshire Det. Eric Kulberg, 31.
Sunday's ride brought motorcyclists from as far away as Rhode Island, according to Kelly Graham of Epping, who also helped plan the event with Tanya MacLean of Barrington and Tina St. Peter of Deerfield.
'We're thrilled with the turnout. There's a lot of motorcycle brotherhood here,' Graham said as the bikers revved up before leaving Epping.
That brotherhood also included Maloney's friends and neighbors from his hometown of North Hampton.
'He watched football with us every Sunday. He was just a great guy,' said Fred Millett, one of Maloney's neighbors.
Art Colby of North Hampton, who knew Maloney for nearly 25 years, never questioned whether he would participate once he heard about the ride.
'He would have done the same for us,' Colby said of Maloney.
For those who didn't participate, donation checks can be made out to the Newmarket Police Relief Association - noting 'Local N.H. Heroes Charity Motorcycle Ride' - and mailed to the Newmarket Police Relief Association, 70 Exeter St., Newmarket 03857.