The man charged in the early Thanksgiving-morning shooting that killed a 23-year-old at an Amherst home had crashed a party at a family home and was told to leave, the distraught homeowner told the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Diane Zahn said her son, Mitchell Zahn, 21, witnessed the death of his childhood friend Brandon Kluz at her home at 19 Baboosic Lake Road. New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie Duval determined that Kluz died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Bryson R. Peluso, 27, has been charged with second-degree murder. Nashua defense lawyer Jeffrey Odland entered a plea of not guilty on Peluso’s behalf during an arraignment Friday morning in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South in Nashua.
“He (Peluso) was not known to my family, my children. He was not invited and asked to leave,” said Zahn by phone on Friday.
Zahn spoke while en route back to New Hampshire. She was in New Jersey at the time of the shooting and fielded calls from her son, her son’s father and New Hampshire State Police during most of Thanksgiving Day.
“I’m truly, truly just devastated and sad,” Zahn said. A veteran teacher at Milford schools, Zahn said she has known Kluz since he was 6 years old, and he is a former student of hers.
“He’s a great kid. Everyone who knew Brandon loved Brandon,” Zahn said.
Zahn said several young adults were at her house that night, but she was unsure of the exact number. They were young adults who knew one another from the Milford-Amherst area and attended high school together. Police say the shooting was reported shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday.
She said her son broke his elbow and wrist when he slipped running out of the home to meet EMTs in order to bring them to Kluz.
Superior Court Judge Charles Temple ordered Peluso held without bail. He has a record that includes at least two misdemeanor assault charges.
Homicide prosecutor Pete Hinckley said a search warrant, search warrant affidavit and arrest affidavit are under seal to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Hinckley said much work still needs to be done in the investigation, including re-interviewing key individuals.
“It’s very early on in the investigation,” Hinckley said. Anyone with information about the shooting should contact State Police Sgt. Marc Beaudoin at (603) 223-4381.