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Gun shop co-owner described as 'friendly', 'personable'

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 29. 2015 11:43PM
Yellow crime scene tape surrounds the home on McAfee Farm Road, an upscale Bedford neighborhood, where three people died this past weekend. (Kimberly Houghton)

Customers and acquaintances of Merrimack gun shop co-owner Alexey Obukhov described him as “friendly” and “personable.”

“He was very helpful, very friendly, very courteous to me as a customer,” said Penny Dean of Concord, a criminal defense attorney and firearms enthusiast who shopped at Collectable Arms and Ammo. “I remember speaking with him at his store, and he was very respectful. As a woman who frequents gun shops, I can say that is not always the case.”

Employees at Collectable Arms and Ammo store, also known as 619DW Guns and Ammo, would not comment Sunday on the suspicious deaths at 17 McAfee Farm Road, Bedford, where neighbors said Obukhov lived with his wife and two daughters.

Obukhov’s store made national headlines in 2013 after displaying posters of President Barack Obama next to images of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and declaring Obama the “firearm salesman of the year.”

Richard Nutile of Manchester, general manager of the Granite State Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Hudson, said he has met Obukhov. What he remembers best about him is his sheer size.

“He is a large man, I’d say about 6’1” and around 250 pounds,” said Nutile. “I’m not saying this in a negative way, but he was very Ukrainian — I don’t think they display a lot of humor as a nationality, and he was a no-nonsense type of person.”

Nutile said he met with Obukhov for about an hour in 2013, back when he worked as a tactical applications consultant.

“I would meet with owners of new gun stores around the area,” said Nutile. “I remember talking with him about his extensive collection of military antiquities. It sounded like a pretty substantial collection he had put together. I remember enjoying the talk; he seemed like a pleasant guy.”

Court documents indicate that Alexey Obukhov filed a civil lawsuit against Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski in 2014, asking that all of his firearms and ammunition be returned to him after they were taken in response to an alleged domestic assault.

On Aug. 24, 2013, Obukhov’s wife alleged she was assaulted by Alexey. Court records show she alleged he struck her, but she later “invoked her Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination,” and all criminal charges were dismissed,” according to court papers.

In October 2013, Obukhov applied for a concealed carry permit that was later denied by Chief Bryfonski. He sued and the decision was reversed by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in November 2014.

“In the present case, we agree with the petitioner that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the denial of (Obukhov’s) license was justified,” the ruling states. “There was no evidence that (he) is a convicted felon. Nor was there evidence of a significant unexplained arrest history.”

Dean cautioned anyone rushing to judgment on Obukhov and what may have happened on McAfee Farm Road.

“The truth is, right now we don’t know the sexes of the victims, we don’t know the age of the victims, we don’t know much at all,” said Dean. “Until the police release more information, I think everyone should remember the old adage about being innocent until proven guilty. Anything could have happened here. It’s just too early to know right now.”

Union Leader Correspondent Kimberly Houghton contributed to this report.

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