May 22, 2013
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Manchester firefighter arraigned on felony charges; health is cited
Phelps is also scheduled for a preventative detention hearing today in Circuit Court-Manchester District Division.
Court documents show Phelps is accused of attempting to strangle his girlfriend with one hand and covering her nose and mouth with the other, causing her to have difficulty breathing, and of holding a .45 caliber handgun against the side of her head.
Documents show Phelps' girlfriend told police he is a veteran who sustained a head injury while fighting in Iraq and has been diagnosed with PTSD.
She said his problems with anger and aggression began around Thanksgiving 2012 and she urged him to go to the Veterans Administration facility for help. She said the initial medications appeared to make things worse and he was advised to taper them off slowly. She said he is now in a 12-stage therapy program at the VA, taking him back to the day he was injured in combat. But he had become increasingly angry and miserable and has threatened to shoot himself several times in the past few weeks.
The woman, who said she has known Phelps for about 10 years and lived with him for the past year, said when Phelps threatened to kill himself she urged him to think about his children and family. She said he told her: "I will kill them also and if the cops come, I will shoot them."
Fire Chief James Burkush said Phelps has been a city firefighter since 2002. He said Phelps, who is assigned to Engine 10 and Truck 3 company, is not scheduled to work again until Friday.
In 2005, Phelps was among a group of Manchester Firefighters who spent a month on post-hurricane duty in the Gulf Coast at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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