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December 14. 2012 7:20AM

Motorist retrieving ski rack mistaken as gunman

LONDONDERRY - A motorist trying to retrieve a ski rack that fell off his car and landed in the Interstate 93 center median was mistakenly identified as a "gunman," triggering a massive police response Thursday morning including officers from Londonderry, Derry and state police, as well as a hovering state police helicopter.

According to state police, a man called them later in the day Thursday to explain he believed they were searching for him. The man, who state police did not identify in a news release, said his ski rack fell off his gray Volkswagen sedan just after 8 a.m. during the morning commute and landed in the center median near Exit 4 on I-93.

He parked his car in the right breakdown lane and crossed I-93 south to retrieve it. State police said they received other calls that were consistent with that explanation.

Police searched the area for about two hours but called off the search just before 10 a.m. after not being able to find a gunman.

Concord resident George Simon, on his way to work that morning, told the New Hampshire Union Leader he saw a man in a suit walking alongside I-93.

“He was dressed to the hilt,” said Simon. “I was worried he was going to get hit.”

Then he noticed a car parked by the side of the road. Part of the vehicle's roof rack appeared to be missing. Simon said Thursday he believes the so-called “gunman” was simply a case of mistaken identity as the unknown man attempted to retrieve a large piece of a roof rack that had fallen onto the road.


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