Officer.com Online Exclusive

N.H. Police Officer Killed in Shooting Before Blaze

BRENTWOOD, N.H. -- Brentwood Police Officer Steve Arkell was fatally shot Monday afternoon while responding to the report of a domestic disturbance at 46 Mill Pond Road when a resident of the home opened fire shortly after he entered

Arkell, 48, was the first officer to enter the home, though a second officer attempted, according to information shared by Attorney General Joseph Foster during a news conference Monday night. As the second, unnamed officer made that attempt, Mike Nolan, son of homeowner Walter Nolan, opened fire and that second officer was driven out.

Foster said Michael Nolan, 47, the son of the homeowner, is the suspected gunman. He is presumed dead.

Earlier reports stated that Arkell, a 15-year veteran of the Brentwood Police Department, had been medflighted; however it was later learned that those reports were incorrect.

Ongoing emergency communications indicated Arkell did not answer radio calls following the shots.

"The entire State of New Hampshire is in mourning over the tragic loss of Brentwood Officer Steve Arkell," said Gov. Maggie Hassan. "Officer Arkell bravely answered the call of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice, a heroic demonstration of his commitment to the safety of his fellow citizens. Like so many of our first responders do on a daily basis, Officer Arkell courageously put his life on the line to protect others, and in doing so, was tragically taken far too soon."

She continued, saying she knows "all Granite Staters" owe Arkell, father of two daughters and who wore Badge #87, "gratitude for his service and sacrifice."

Debra Vasapolli, director of public relations at Exeter Hospital, said that one person was taken to the hospital but said that person was not the victim of a gunshot wound. She declined to provide more details.

Officers arrived on scene to the home of Nolan and his son, where the two had been heard arguing by neighbors nearby with loud hollering, a frequent occurrence according to neighbors.

The father, Walter Nolan, 86, rolled out of the home at the order of law enforcement and was handcuffed until it was learned he was not the shooter. He was transported from the scene by ambulance.

Public records indicate the house is owned by Nolan and he apparently lived in the home with his son.

A four-alarm fire then erupted, destroying the home. As heavy black smoke filled the sky above Route 107, an explosion came from within the residence, blowing a significant portion of the roof off, according to neighbor Susan Hughes. She and her husband, Wayne, watched what she described as a terrifying scene, unfold.

"We were home and I thought he was making the noise. And he thought I was making the noise. Then it sounded like something banging, but it was the gunshots," Hughes said.

The next thing she knew, law enforcement were steadying their weapons in the bed of a new truck in her driveway.

She said at times shots would quiet, "but then there were more gunshots. There were bullets coming out of the roof."

"He can't possibly have made it," she said of the shooter, who was still in the home as it became engulfed with flames.

She described the son as a "recluse" and said he had some sort of social anxiety and always keep to himself, never really talking to neighbors.

The father, however, she said they knew well.

"He was a very nice man," she said.

A State Police Humvee came around, she said, grabbing everyone they could to remove them from the scene as it unfolded.

"It's just terrifying. It's scary. I'm shaking all over," she said.

A woman who lived in the other half of the duplex from the father and son, was severely and visibly distraught on scene. She was embraced by neighbors as she stood along the roadway, watching as smoke continued pouring into the sky. She cried out, asking why her home was being destroyed.

The Mill Pond Community was built in 2008. Eighty percent of residents are 55 years old and older with the remaining 20 percent younger, but over the age of 18.

Arkell was a part time officer with his department, according to Brentwood Police Chief Wayne M. Robinson.

Another news conference is scheduled for this afternoon at 1 p.m. The location has not yet been named.

State police continue to investigate, along with the FBI, the State Fire Marshal's Office, ATF and other departments. Nearly 100 firefighters responded to the scene with law enforcement with many remaining through the night.

"Rest in peace. Thank you for your service and your ultimate sacrifice," Hassan said.

Copyright 2014 - Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Loading