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UPDATED: Nashua police say man was shot while trying to grab officer's gun

Union Leader Correspondent

March 24. 2014 9:20PM

NASHUA — The man shot and wounded by city police officer Stephen Morrill during an altercation Saturday night allegedly grabbed the officer’s baton and attempted to get the patrolman’s gun from its holster.


Craig Riley, 41, was arraigned from a hospital bed Monday, charged with attempted first-degree assault on a police officer, possession of heroin, two counts of resisting arrest, being a felon in possession of a weapon and a habitual offender.


Riley, a convicted felon with no fixed address, is being held on $75,000 cash-only bail.


According to court documents, Nashua police received information from Bedford authorities about a possible shoplifting in their community around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. City police were searching for the registered owner of the vehicle, which ultimately led them to the area of 5 New Haven Drive within the Knightsbridge Arms Condominiums development.


Lt. Denis Linehan said the vehicle was entering a parking area when a city police officer initiated a vehicle stop in an attempt to speak with the driver.


“Riley ran from the vehicle,” Linehan said Monday. “He ran from the officer and struggled to be placed into custody.”


The officer — who Linehan did not identify, but court documents named as Morrill — was eventually able to make contact with Riley outside buildings 4 and 6 at the condominium complex.


“Riley attempted to pull the officer’s handgun from his duty belt,” Linehan said. “The gun was holstered and Riley was attempting to take it out of the holster.”


Although Morrill was able to keep the weapon holstered, Riley allegedly continued running into a unit at 5 New Haven Drive and a second confrontation began, according to Linehan.


At that point, Riley was able to remove Morrill’s baton from his duty belt, allegedly swinging it unsuccessfully at the patrolman, Linehan said.


During the altercation, Morrill eventually pulled his gun and fired two shots, according to Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley. Both shots hit Riley, Hinckley said Monday, refusing to elaborate on where Riley was struck.


Authorities have described Riley’s injuries as non-life-threatening. He was taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.


“The officer was treated and released from a local hospital. He has some injuries,” Linehan said.


Authorities are still trying to identify anyone who may have witnessed the incident.


Linehan was unaware of Riley’s criminal background, but did say he was a convicted felon.


According to an earlier news release from the Hudson Police Department, Riley was arrested in 2007 for a robbery at Bill Cahill’s Super Subs in Hudson.


“We are still actively investigating, so we are limited in the amount of information we can release,” Hinckley said.


Although the complaints against Riley were available at the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, the police affidavit and other court documents pertaining to the case have been sealed.

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