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Neighbors say son would fly into rages as 86-year-old father stayed silent

Union Leader Correspondent

May 14. 2014 9:28PM
James and Susan Maguire comfort each other as smoke billows from their duplex Monday afternoon. The fire began after the shooting incident that claimed the life of Brentwood Officer Steve Arkell. (HUNTER MCGEE/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — Neighbors who lived next door to Michael Nolan on Mill Pond Road said he would sometimes fly into rages.

Police say Nolan fatally shot Brentwood officer Steve Arkell on Monday when he responded to a domestic disturbance call at 46 Mill Pond Road.

James and Susan Maguire said they would occasionally hear Nolan, 47, yelling and swearing. Michael Nolan lived in the residence with his 86-year-old father, Walter.

“I think he was a troubled soul,” Susan Maguire said of Michael, who police say perished in the fire that started after the shooting. The Nolans had lived in the 55-and-older community about 3 and 1/2 years — six months before the Maguires moved in on the other side of the duplex.

While the couple heard Michael Nolan yelling and swearing, they never heard the elder Nolan respond, Susan Maguire said.

“I didn’t hear him on a daily basis, but when I heard him he was quite angry and I never heard Walter saying a word,” she said.

During one incident, they said they had gone with Walter to walk the Nolans’ dog. It was raining and when they returned, they let the dog back in the Nolans’ house through the porch.

They then encountered an enraged Michael Nolan, who was waiting in the house and saw that the dog was wet.

“He started screaming f-bombs at his father because the dog was wet,” Susan Maguire said.

The Maguires said they got along well with Walter Nolan, but barely spoke to Michael Nolan. They said he was introverted and kept to himself.

“I know that he has a wonderful family,” Susan Maguire said. “His father Walter is a very nice man. And his family is very caring, and I know his father loves him very much.”

When the incident began on Monday, she was across the street at a neighbor’s house. Her husband had gone to a local grocery store.

She said she saw Arkell go into the house and then heard the shots ring out.

“I was across the street — thank God — and thank God my husband wasn’t there,” she said.

After the fire started, James Maguire returned but was kept back by police. He eventually reunited with his wife and they could be seen walking arm-in-arm across a field as dense smoke billowed from the duplex they called home. James Maguire reached over to comfort his wife, who was distraught after losing all of their possessions and two cats. The Maguires are now living with a relative in Stratham.

Despite losing so much, James Maguire said they feel fortunate to have survived.

“They are just possessions,” he said. “We got out quite OK and everything is all right. It will work its way out sometime.”

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