Claremont standoff

Police cordoned off a section of town around the Centennial Street neighborhood where a man reportedly shot at police throughout the morning, according to witnesses.

CLAREMONT — A city man is in custody after police say he shot at police and his neighborhood during a prolonged standoff that started early Thursday, and resulted in police shutting down a portion of the city.

Michael Burns, 55, with a Hanover Street address, could be charged as soon as Friday, said Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase.

Michael Burns


Police were called to the area of Centennial and Hanover streets at 5:20 a.m. for the reported gunshots, and Chase said the responding officers could hear gunshots coming from Burns’ house.

The officers then acted quickly to start evacuating people from the neighboring houses, Chase said.

He said that no one was injured during the shootings, which kept up sporadically throughout the morning.

No police officer fired into Burns’ home, the chief said.

The motive for the incident remains unclear. Burns was wanted by police before the shooting, according to Chase. He had warrants out for his arrest on charges of criminal threatening and simple assault.

Claremont police, working with the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, put up a large perimeter around the neighborhood, which includes Valley Regional Hospital and Barnes Park.

People who were not evacuated were told to shelter in place. Chase said the department also utilized social media and reverse 911 systems to alert people in the city about the situation.

He credits his officers for acting quickly to get people to safety and help from New Hampshire State Police and other agencies for the safe resolution of the situation.

State troopers talked to Burns throughout the day; around 2:20 p.m. he agreed to come out of his house. He was unarmed and taken into custody, Chase said.

Chase suspects police will find multiple guns, both long guns and handguns, were used by Burns during the incident.

He also expects investigators will find gun shots went into neighboring homes, which will likely result in charges for Burns.

Burns is due to be arraigned on the criminal threatening and simple assault charges Friday in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport.

He is currently being held in the Sullivan County House of Corrections in Unity.