GILMANTON — A 34-year-old man who was found dead in a rented camp late Sunday night likely died by his own hand after firing on police and holing up inside, according to authorities.
The incident began on Sunday afternoon when the Belknap County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center received a call from a woman reporting that her son had been shot at by a neighbor with what she described as an AK-47 rifle.
The caller said a group of boys had been going up and down the densely settled neighborhood asking residents if they wanted their lawns mowed.
At 139 Lakeshore Road, police said a confrontation occurred and the man fired in the direction of at least one of the boys who fled. The incident occurred next to the Shellcamp Lakeshores homeowner’s association beach on Shellcamp Lake.
The Belknap County Regional Special Operations Group was called to the scene off Allens Mills Road. When they pulled up with their Bearcat armored vehicle, the officers immediately came under fire, according to Sheriff Mike Moyer. Two bullets struck a side door of the armored vehicle, another round hit the roof just above the windshield, and a bullet also punched a hole through the light bar atop the Bearcat.
Without the shelter of an armored vehicle, Moyer said, he is confident that officers would have been wounded or killed.
Moyer said the officers never returned fire.
Special Operations team members used the public address system on the Bearcat to attempt to convince the man to come out of the single-story waterfront camp. When that proved unsuccessful, they fired multiple rounds of tear gas into the house in an effort to get him to surrender.
Monday morning, yellow police tape still encircled the property and several windows were broken where tear gas canisters appeared to have been fired inside.
Police closed Lakeshore Drive at Buckhorn Lane about 200 yards from the 1960s two-bedroom, one-bath camp and evacuated residents from several nearby homes that line the shores of the 145-acre lake, where American flags fly from utility poles. Between 10 and 10:30 p.m. a remote-controlled robot equipped with a video camera was sent into the building and found the man dead. Both a handgun and a long gun were recovered.
Moyer said police had had no previous contact with the man, who had most recently lived in Washington state. Police did not release his identity.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office was scheduled to perform an autopsy at Concord Hospital Monday to determine his cause and manner of death.
According to town records, the property where the incident occurred near the intersection of Musket Trail is owned by Max. S. Brown of Loudon.