GREENLAND, NH (CBS/AP) – “Stunned” has been the word most used to describe the small town of Greenland, New Hampshire just one day after their police chief was killed and four other officers were shot during a drug raid.
The town of 3,500 near the seacoast had just seven police officers including Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was due to retire in eight days.
Maloney, a husband and father who had 26 years of experience in law enforcement, and 12 years as chief of the Greenland department, was shot and killed Thursday night during the raid.
Jacqueline DeFreze, who lives a half-mile down the road from the house where the shooting happened, said she had been planning to attend a surprise party for Maloney’s retirement.
“I’m a wreck. He was just the greatest guy,” said DeFreze, a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Rye. “He’s kind-hearted, always visible in the community.”
Part of Maloney’s routine was grabbing a slice of pie at the Buckhorn Diner. Long-time waitress Janet Grant, says Maloney was always smiling when he stopped in.
“He was a wonderful man and I feel so bad for his family,” she said.
Selectman Ken Bellevue also said he was heartbroken. He last spoke to Maloney Monday night, and recalled that the chief was looking forward to his retirement and perhaps starting a new job down the road.
“We’re going to make sure we get through this,” he said. “This is our town,” Bellevue said.
John Penacho, chairman of the town’s Board of Selectman, called the loss devastating to the entire tight-knit town.
“It’s a blow to all of us. You’re stunned. It’s New Hampshire, it’s a small town,” he said. “We’re stunned. I mean all of us. It’s an unbelievable situation.”
Asked what the town will do to help residents cope with the tragedy, Penacho said “We’ll do whatever we need to do.”
The town’s schools were closed Friday, because law enforcement officers had been using the elementary school as a staging area.
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