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Panel Appointed To Review NH Police Chief’s Death

Holly Ramer, Associated Press
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was taking cover behind his cruiser during a lull in activity when he was shot to death, New Hampshire’s attorney general said Tuesday.

Attorney General Michael Delaney’s description followed a news conference to announce the appointment of a five-member committee to review the April 12 shooting that left Maloney dead and four members of a state drug task force injured. The shooter, Cullen Mutrie, later killed his girlfriend and himself.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

“There is a danger inherent in the nature of (police) work,” the attorney general said. “And I think there’s also an obligation on our part in light of that reality, an obligation and a responsibility that when officers are killed or injured we do everything we can as a law enforcement community to learn and to educate ourselves going forward.”

Though authorities have said the officers were trying to execute a search warrant when Maloney died taking heroic measures to help the injured officers, they have not established the exact sequence of events. Authorities are still investigating, Delaney said, while offering several new details about what happened that night.

Delaney said the task force had obtained a “no-knock” warrant giving them permission to enter the home without announcing themselves first, but decided not to take that approach. Two uniformed Greenland police officers knocked on the door and identified themselves, he said. Getting no response, members of the drug task force then broke down the door, and were immediately fired upon by Mutrie. Four were shot, and the other two were able to return fire and spur Mutrie away from the entrance and back into the home, the attorney general said.

“At that time, there was a lull of inactivity when no shooting occurred in which the officers that were wounded were assisted into vehicles and driven away to safety,” Delaney said. “Chief Maloney positioned himself in a position of cover behind the front right wheel of his marked cruiser and was taking cover behind his wheel, over the hood of his car, looking at the home. And after a period of inactivity, additional gunshots were fired from inside the home, and one of those gunshots struck Chief Maloney in the head resulting in his death.”

Two of the injured officers were treated at the hospital and released soon afterward. Two others were in intensive care, and have since been released. They were wearing protective vests, Delaney said, but where shot below the neck and above the top edge of their vests.

The committee investigating the shootings is being led by former Nashua Chief Don Conley. Also appointed were Tilton Chief Robert Cormier, former Hudson Capt. William Pease, Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin and Portsmouth lawyer Steven Roberts. Among them, the group has expertise in special operations, drug investigations, police standards and training and law enforcement assessment, Delaney said.

“Through this review our citizens can be assured that we will learn from and take away from this tragedy everything we can, and that knowledge will be carried forward to all police officers in the betterment of future law enforcement efforts,” he said.

Though he emphasized that the panel’s mission is not disciplinary — that’s up to the individual departments involved — Delaney said the group will make recommendations as appropriate in a report that includes a factual recitation of the events, identification of applicable policies and procedures and an assessment of the overall operation. No timeline was given, and Delaney said the group will be given all the time and resources it needs.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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