MANCHESTER — Law enforcers scoured city streets and rooftops for more than three hours Tuesday searching for a firearm and other evidence connected with two fatal shootings outside a Lake Avenue apartment Sunday.
Meanwhile, autopsies continued into the early evening at the chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Concord on the bodies of Charles Cable, 20, and Edgar “Eddie” Hoffens, 22, both of Manchester. Results should provide a clearer account of how the shootings occurred and likely contribute to any charges being brought. Findings should be made public today.
Investigators also talked with “a lot” of additional witnesses and others while canvassing the area around the 331 Lake Ave. apartment building where the two men were shot about 3:50 p.m. Sunday, a state prosecutor said.
In addition, Hoffens’ younger brother, David — who police allege admitted to shooting one of the men, then tossing the gun as he fled to avoid arrest — was freed on bail Monday, according to court accounts.
Edgar Hoffens was found dead outside the first floor of the building. Cable was lying on the side walkway with a gunshot wound on the left side of his head. He died Monday at Elliot Hospital.
David H. Hoffens, 21, is charged with one felony count of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly tossing his firearm as he ran from the shooting scene. He was freed on $25,000 cash or surety bail after his arraignment Monday in 9th Circuit Court District Division in Manchester. Amherst Bail Bonds posted his bail, the court said.
Investigators have had to sort through varying accounts of what happened outside 331 Lake Ave., where the Hoffens brothers lived with their mother, Cynthia Hoffens.
Cynthia Hoffens’ boyfriend, Dan Morgan, initially told police Cable was shot by David Hoffens after Cable first shot Hoffens’ older brother, Edgar, a police affidavit alleges.
Officer Joe Ryan said David Hoffens was “hysterical” when he admitted during a cell phone call that he “shot ‘Charlie,” repeating that “he didn’t mean to do it,” the affidavit alleges.
Hoffens’ childhood friend, Eric Woodard, told police David Hoffens called him and told him “words to the effect of ‘the guys’ pulled a knife on him and he shot the guy and was afraid that he also shot his brother,” according to the affidavit.
Assistant Attorney General Benjamin J. Agati would not say if evidence supports Cynthia Hoffens’ or her boyfriend’s accounts.
Other witnesses have come forward and told their version of events, he said.
“It’s common that people can witness the same event, but have different memories of it,” Agati said.
Investigators still are trying to clarify motive for the shootings and will do forensic tests to determine “what individual was doing what and what sort of implement they were using,” Agati said.
“We want to determine what happened, the individuals holding the weapon, what their intent was at the time” and their relationships to those who were shot, he added.
Massachusetts State Police used a search dog and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted Manchester police in conducting additional searches Tuesday.
Investigators examined at least three locations in the area of Lake and Spruce streets, at times scanning rooftops with binoculars from the raised bucket of an aerial fire truck.
Agati, speaking from the Medical Examiner’s Office while the autopsies were underway, said he could not comment on whether a weapon was recovered “because I do not have that knowledge.”
David Hoffens pleaded guilty last month to threatening to kill his brother, Edgar, then pulling out the telephone lines so his brother could not call police. The younger Hoffens was given a suspended six-month sentence, fined $200 and ordered to undergo anger management evaluation.