Christian St. Cyr excelled as a high school athlete, earning spots on the varsity football and lacrosse teams from the time he was a freshman at Gilford High School.
He spent his spare time fixing cars, snowboarding and working — 40 hours a week during the summer, according to a Student of the Week profile in the Dec. 31, 2009, edition of the Gilford Steamer. St. Cyr achieved in the classroom, too, and had plans to join the military after he graduated.
“I am trying to do good and focus on school,” he told the Gilford Steamer during his junior year of high school. “I just want to make my parents happy and stay out of trouble. I don’t want them to have to worry about me. I have a job, I work hard and I get good grades.”
The small town’s newspaper also documented the early successes of Brandie Tarantino — her middle school graduation, an award she received as a Gilford High School senior.
But over the next two years Tarantino would face criminal court 10 different times for drug and petty crime offenses. By the time she pleaded guilty to a felony fentanyl possession charge in Belknap County Superior Court last June, she was making only $120 a week working part-time at the Market Basket in Tilton.
At the time, the 5-foot, 4-inch tall Tarantino weighed only 110 pounds, according to court records.
On Thursday, after a 15-hour standoff peppered with gunfire, a SWAT team breached the door of a first-floor room at the Quality Inn in Manchester and found St. Cyr, 26, and Tarantino, 21, dead.
Officers had earlier shot and killed another man who had been in the room, 51-year-old Stephen Marshall, after he burst through a window in the room and began firing, according to police.
Neither St. Cyr nor Tarantino sustained gunshot wounds or internal injuries, according to Chief Medical Examiner Jennie V. Duval, and their cause of death remains unclear.
Equally unclear is what brought three people with virtually no history of violence into a deadly conflict with police.
Marshall, whose most recent address is listed on court documents as being in Nashua, had a long rap sheet. At the time of the Quality Inn standoff he was wanted on separate warrants out of Manchester and Nashua for failing to appear in court in drug possession cases.
Among the two dozen charges that brought him to New Hampshire courtrooms between 2008 and 2019, nearly all were for drug possession. Marshall’s court records do not indicate any charges for violent crimes or illegal possession of a firearm.
Tarantino’s criminal record is similar.
Beginning in 2012, she faced a number of drug-related charges. She would later be arrested for criminal trespassing, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and theft by deception in separate cases, but none of her run-ins with police involved violence.
The Laconia Daily Sun reported in 2015 that St. Cyr was arrested on a number of charges, including being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon — it was not clear what weapon — after he broke into a truck and stole the owner’s wallet. The paper also cited a police source who said St. Cyr had been convicted of simple assault in 2010, although that could not be independently confirmed on Saturday.
Most of St. Cyr’s cases, though, involve possession of small quantities of drugs.
Like Marshall, he and Tarantino also had active warrants at the time of the standoff for failure to appear in court.
Just weeks after pleading guilty and getting a one-year suspended sentence for fentanyl possession, Tarantino self reported to her parole officer last July 24 that she had been using fentanyl and cocaine.
She was ordered to go to the Safe Station in Manchester or Farnum Center immediately and call her parole officer by the next day.
Tarantino did neither.
Tarantino and St. Cyr were in a relationship, at least as of August 2018, according to a report written by Tarantino’s parole officer.
When a parole officer visited their shared residence for an unannounced inspection on Aug. 1, 2018, the couple fled, leaving behind baggies, pipes and a white powder believed to be drugs. Three days later, police stopped St. Cyr, Tarantino and another woman who was on parole after police observed them leaving a residence from which drugs were known to be sold, according to court records. Officers found .4 grams of what appeared to be crack cocaine on them.
They arrested St. Cyr on a charge of falsifying physical evidence for attempting to conceal the drugs. He was released two days later on $5,000 cash bail, but failed to appear for an Oct. 18 court date.
Tarantino was not immediately arrested during the Manchester traffic stop, but several days later her parole officer entered a probation violation petition and the court issued a warrant for her arrest.
Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano said on Friday that a police negotiator was in contact with St. Cyr and Tarantino off-and-on during the standoff, but he declined to discuss the nature of those conversations.
Representatives of St. Cyr’s and Tarantino’s families declined comment on their deaths.