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'This is a drug street': Woman shot to death in downtown Rochester, nearby home searched

Union Leader Correspondent

June 07. 2018 12:19PM
Police search a home Wednesday where it was believed a gun used to kill a woman in downtown Rochester was kept. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

K-9 Claude of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called to help search a house on Lafayette Street and the scene of a homicide in Rochester Wednesday. (KIMBERLEY HAAS, Union Leader Correspondent)

ROCHESTER — Authorities are investigating the death of a woman shot next to South Main Street.

The victim’s name has not been released pending notification of family, according to authorities.

Police were called to South Main Street between Friendly’s and the Emily Cross House about midnight Tuesday, where they found three adults — including the woman who was shot. She was taken to the hospital and later died.

After police secured the crime scene, they executed a search warrant at 50 Lafayette St.

Those living in the area say it has its share of crime. Jessica Witham said at least one shot was fired near the home Monday in what appears to be an unrelated incident.

“This is a drug street,” she said.

Officer Eric Kotchian and K-9 Claude of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped search the home before heading to the area where the woman was shot. They combed the area near The Emily Cross House, the public library and toward the First Congregational Church.

No arrests related to the shooting have been announced, but Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said there is no known threat to the public related to the killing, but people should use caution in the area.

“This is a shooting near a fairly busy thoroughfare,” Hinckley said.

Dennis Downs and Anna Strong live near the shooting scene; they said they’ve been worried something bad would happen in the neighborhood. Drug addicts and homeless people loiter behind the library, they said. 

Strong has been collecting signatures on a petition to be presented to the city council that says criminal activity in the area has been increasing in recent months. 

Drug deals and use, fights involving deadly weapons, excessive noise after hours and sex acts have been witnessed, the petition states.

“The police have told us that unless we directly witness or document by video or pictures, they cannot help,” says the petition, which includes photos of some of the lawlessness it alleges is taking place.

The petition calls on the city to relocate the SOS Recovery Center from 63 South Main St., about a block from where Tuesday’s homicide occurred. The petition says the organization provides needles and Narcan to drug users.

Wayne Maurer, director of Accident Benefit Association at The Emily Cross House, which houses several businesses, said his employees are also seeing drug deals and criminal activity.

“We do the best we can. We try not to have anyone in the building alone,” he said.

Anyone with information can contact detective Geoff Moore of the Rochester Police Department at 330-7140.

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