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Autopsy: Maine man killed by Mass. trooper in NH was shot in the neck

Union Leader Correspondent

June 16. 2017 2:28PM
Investigators from the State Police Major Crime Unit at the scene in Newton where a suspect was killed by police after chase Thursday night. (JASON SCHREIBER/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

NEWTON — A Maine man is dead after a wild police chase Thursday night that began in Massachusetts and ended in a shootout with Massachusetts state troopers after the man crashed a stolen pickup truck, authorities said.

Michael Brown, 40, of Presque Isle, Maine, died in the incident.

Investigators from the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit spent several hours at the scene of the crash and shooting Friday morning at Bear Hill and Amesbury roads.

Shortly after towing the truck, which had only rims on the passenger’s side wheels, police cleared and reopened Amesbury Road by 10:30 a.m.

The chase began just after 11 p.m. Thursday in Malden, Mass., when police spotted Brown, who was wanted by Maine authorities in a sexual assault case.

Massachusetts state troopers pursued the truck into New Hampshire, where spike strips were deployed and Brown eventually crashed into a tree just before midnight, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

Brown, who was alone in the vehicle, died in a shootout with Massachusetts troopers, authorities said.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Andrew determined through an autopsy that Brown’s cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the neck and the manner was ruled a homicide.

The Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating with New Hampshire State Police, initially said Brown was shot and killed during a briefconfrontation with the troopers.

At one point, police said, Brown drove the wrong way on Interstate 495 in Amesbury, Mass. He reportedly fired at police during the chase.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office in Maine issued a bulletin Thursday seeking a gold 2001 Toyota Tacoma that was possibly stolen by Brown. Police believed he was armed with a 9mm handgun and he was considered dangerous.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Friday morning that the pickup truck they were seeking was the same one involved in the chase.

Presque Isle Police Det. Kris Beck said he spoke to Brown on June 7 about the sexual assault charges and made an appointment for him to be interviewed but Brown didn’t show up.

Local police said they believe Brown stole the truck from an uncle and reported him as armed and dangerous after he told a friend he had no plans to be arrested.

Brown had a previous and violent criminal history, according to court documents and published reports.

In 2012, he pled guilty to domestic violence against his live-in girlfriend and was sentenced to five years in prison with all but three years suspended and two years probation. According to published reports at that time, Brown blamed that assault on drug abuse.

In 2008, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison, all but five years suspended for an August 2007 kidnapping of a different female victim in Presque Isle.

In Newton, the sound of the crash, sirens and gunfire rattled the neighborhood as many residents were heading to bed.

Barbara Galarza said she was not yet asleep when she heard the commotion outside. She said she saw many police cruisers lined up outside her home.

“Then we heard gunfire. There were cops running around, sirens going on,” she said.

Her husband told her to get away from the windows in case a bullet hit.

Galarza said she heard multiple rounds fired in rapid succession. The shootout lasted about two minutes, she said.

Another Amesbury Road resident said he awoke to the sound of a helicopter overhead and cruisers rushing by. He said the truck was speeding on its rims before it crashed into the tree.

“After he got out he started shooting at the cops. There were probably about 30 rounds shot off,” he said, adding that police returned fire.

Sandra Erickson, who lives nearby, said she also was awakened by the sound of gunfire.

“Lots of gunshots and then I saw a lot of officers. It woke me right up,” she said.

Erickson said her daughter arrived home from Los Angeles to the crime scene Friday morning.

“I thought my daughter was bringing L.A. home,” she said.

Neighbor Pam Lipomi was also shaken by all the commotion outside her house.

“I’m really glad that no police officers were hurt and I’m sorry that somebody felt that is how they had to end something,” she said.

Union Leader reporter Kevin Landrigan contributed to this report.

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