Few Answers in New Hampshire Officer LODD

May 15, 2014
Many questions remain following Monday's fatal shooting of Brentwood Police Officer Stephen Arkell.

BRENTWOOD, N.H. -- While many questions remain following Monday's terrifying events that left both a Brentwood police officer and his assailant dead, the Attorney General's Office on Wednesday said no new information on the incident will be immediately forthcoming.

And while the Mill Pond Road neighbors of Walter and Michael Nolan looked on in horror along Route 107 Monday night, with no clear understanding of what was unfolding in their neighborhood, some on Wednesday were still unsure when they will be able to return to their homes.

Forty-seven-year old Michael Nolan of 46 Mill Pond Road opened fire on responding Brentwood police officer Stephen Arkell just after 4 p.m. Monday in what Associate Attorney General Jane Young has described as a "small and quiet town."

A second police officer, Derek Franek of the Fremont Police Department, responded shortly thereafter and, entering the home found the bullet riddled body of officer Arkell, only to be quickly driven out by more gunfire from Michael Dolan.

After a subsequent fire and massive explosion at the home, it took only a short while before the duplex burned to the ground.

The body of officer Arkell was located and removed from the home Monday night.

The remains of what is believed to be Michael Nolan were removed the next day.

An autopsy Tuesday determined officer Arkell died of multiple gunshot wounds, and his death was termed a homicide.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General's office said new information would not be forthcoming at this time, and that autopsy results for Michael Nolan were not expected for days.

Many residents of the 55 and older complex remain without power or electricity, and many others are still unable to return home.

The events late Monday afternoon unfolded as Nolan was heard arguing with his 86 year-old father Walter. The two shared a two-story unit of the duplex situated at 46 Mill Pond Road

The father and son were known to argue and so the sounds of the altercation were of no immediate alarm to those nearby.

It wasn't until the shouting escalated and failed to cease that the police were called. Monday marked the first call to law enforcement that had been made on the two.

The Mill Pond Development is recently constructed, with homes being completed about two years ago. Eighty percent of residents are above age 55, while the remaining 20 percent are younger, but above age 18.

Susan Hughes, who lives next-door to the location that would be the final call for officer, said she and her husband Wayne each heard the arguing and thought the other was making some noise.

Arkell, an Army veteran of Desert Storm, worked for the Brentwood department one day per week.

He was the first to arrive on scene and entered the home with the permission of 86-year old Walter Nolan and was met with gunfire that proved fatal.

Televised footage of the incident revealed there were no firefighters or first responders on the premises as it burned. It is unknown whether Michael's father tipped off officials to a potentially explosive situation.

Michael Nolan lived in the upstairs portion of the unit while his father lived on the first floor.

Michael was described by neighbors as having some sort of social anxiety and/or psychological issue and as someone who never spoke to neighbors, never waved, never attempted any interaction.

"He was a recluse. He never talked to anybody," Hughes, still trembling Monday night from the explosion at her neighbor's house, said. "It would be quiet for a minute and then we'd hear more gunshots."

She said Walter, however, was a "very nice man" whom she and her husband knew well.

"He would help you out with anything," she said.

Denise Nickson, who identified herself as a neighbor Monday evening, shared similar thoughts on the suspected shooter.

"They've just argued a lot in the past," she said, confirming that as far as she knew, there had been no previous calls to police regarding the father and son arguing.

"As soon as police went in, it just didn't look good," she said.

Nickson said she and her husband have lived there just a couple years, but that it was a friendly community from the start.

"That's why we moved here," she said. "We thought this was going to be a quiet place to relax."

Michael Nolan's brother-in-law, Richard Florino, has provided his description of Michael to numerous media outlets, saying Michael was like an adolescent.

Attempts by Foster's to reach Florino directly were unsuccessful Wednesday. A woman who answered Florino's phone at his Windham residence identified herself as being a friend but not a "family member" to the Nolans. She broke down into tears as she spoke, but declined to comment.

In his comments to various media, Florino described his brother-in-law the same way Hughes did, as being a recluse.

Walter Nolan was transported from the scene Monday afternoon to Exeter Hospital. He suffered no gunshot wound and was later released Monday evening. He is currently in the care of a daughter and, according to statements by Young Tuesday afternoon, a determination of whether his testimony is reliable as far as his mental and psychological state is part of the ongoing investigation into what exactly happened.

At the order of Gov. Maggie Hassan, all flags in the state are to fly at half-staff.

"The entire State of New Hampshire is in mourning over the tragic loss of Brentwood Officer Steve Arkell," Gov. Maggie Hassan said. "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.

She said he courageously put his life on the line to protect others, as many Granite State first responders do daily, "and in doing so, was tragically taken far too soon."

"It is now the responsibility of all Granite Staters to honor Officer Arkell's sacrifice by coming together and doing everything that we can to support those he has left behind. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, as well as everyone in Brentwood and the surrounding communities affected by this horrific tragedy," she said.

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

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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