Names of officers in fatal Weare police shooting remain withheld
More than eight weeks after two Weare police officers were involved in the fatal shooting of an alleged drug dealer, it still will take several more weeks before the public learns the names of the officers and gets an initial report on what happened.
The New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit and state Attorney General’s office have been investigating the Aug. 14 shooting death of Alex Cora DeJesus, 35, of Manchester, during what police have called an undercover heroin buy at Lanctot’s Plaza on Route 114 to determine if the use of deadly force is justified.
“It’s progressing, but we are still conducting our investigation,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan G. Morrell said Wednesday.
She said it will be “probably several more weeks” before her office is prepared to release a preliminary finding, which will include the names of the two officers who fired their weapons and struck DeJesus.
The state will not release the names of the officers before the report is released “because it’s an ongoing investigation,” she added.
Both are veteran, full-time officers who have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which is standard procedure.
The shooting occurred about 10:10 p.m. outside Dunkin’ Donuts. Several Weare police officers, two confidential informants and the suspected drug dealer were at the plaza where an undercover heroin purchase was supposed to occur, officials have said.
At some point, officers fired their weapons and wounded the alleged dealer, who drove off in his car with police driving unmarked vehicles in pursuit. The alleged dealer collided with an ice cream stand a few hundred yards away; the two unmarked cruisers also collided, but no officers were hurt.
State officials have refused to say whether DeJesus was armed or exchanged gunfire with police.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force was not involved in the undercover operation, officials have said.
The New Hampshire Union Leader learned the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office reportedly signed off on the sting.
Neither Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia M. LaFrance nor Morrell would comment on this Wednesday.
“I can’t comment on any aspect of the investigation,” Morrell said.
LaFrance said: “The Attorney General’s office is investigating. I’m not commenting on that.”
Interim Weare police administrator Arthur Walker said in August that he believes the officers acted appropriately and looks forward to the Attorney General’s report.