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Man Killed in Standoff With N.H. Police


A police standoff in Manchester came to a deadly end Saturday. After holding his seven-year-old daughter hostage in their apartment since Thursday, a state police SWAT officer shot and killed James Breton early Saturday morning.

His daughter was not hurt.

Police said they tried to end the standoff without violence, but they were forced to open fire when they said Breton man threatened officers with a gun. "He made statements that he was not going to be removed from that building alive,' said Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Jeff Strelzin.

Police said Breton, 50, became increasingly agitated over the 36 hours that he was engaged in a standoff with them while he and his daughter holed up in his apartment at 298 Main Street in Manchester.

"There were numerous attempts made by the police department to try and coax Mr. Breton out of the house to make sure he and his daughter were safely removed," said Strelzin.

It all started around 7:30pm Thursday when police received information about Breton that led them to believe his 7-year-old daughter might be at risk.

"Somebody came to the police that morning and made a report about some potential criminal activity by Mr. Breton and in the course of giving that information led the police to become very concerned about what could happen to the 7-year-old," said Strelzin.

Police said Breton refused to let them see his daughter and barricaded the apartment.

At some point, police said Breton threatened officers with a gun and SWAT teams were called to the scene.

"We know he made threatening statements. We know he was armed with a handgun. We know he wouldn't let his 7-year-old daughter come out and we know he was barricaded inside and finally he made statements that he was not going to come out alive," said Strelzin.

Early Saturday the situation escalated. That's when a state police SWAT officer shot and killed Breton while his daughter was close by.

"She was close enough that the officers were actually able to reach in and pull her out of that," said Strelzin.

Joseph Levasseur, a lawyer representing the girl's mother, identified his client as Laura Gardner and said she was in a long-term relationship with Breton.

"My client is very distraught and very upset as you can imagine," said Levasseur.

WMUR has been told the little girl was checked out at the hospital and was with her mother Saturday night.

Meanwhile, police were still investigating the circumstances that led up to the standoff Saturday night.

Main Street reopened around 8:20am Saturday.

When the standoff began Thursday night, police evacuated people in the area from their homes.

Some people were not allowed to return until Saturday, meaning a day and a half away from home, pets, and routines.

"My little one is trying to come out to play, he usually comes out to play, but he couldn't," said resident Carrie Eldridge.

Another woman, Patricia Villegas said Saturday, "I just want to go home, get in my house, take care of my animals, get home."

As of 11 p.m. Saturday police were still actively investigating at Breton's apartment building, so some people who live in apartments in that building were still not allowed to return home.

The standoff forced school officials to cancel classes at West High School Friday morning.

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