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Family Standoff

May 6, 2011 permalink

When police showed up at a New Hampshire man's home to check on his child, he defended his family, starting a standoff with police.



Police say man brandished gun when asked about child

A Manchester SWAT team responded to a standoff on Flaherty Lane in Manchester on Thursday.

MANCHESTER -- Police shut down several West Side streets and evacuated apartment buildings after an agitated man brandished a gun when police said they knocked on his door to inquire about a child.

Late Thursday night, the SWAT team was in place outside 298 Main St., where a resident was inside with at least one child.

Shortly before 10 p.m., police evacuated the residents of the two floors above the first-floor apartment where the commotion started hours earlier.

Police Chief David Mara said officers went to the apartment to check on the safety of a 7-year-old in the apartment. Police spoke to a man, who waved a firearm and became agitated.

Fearing for the safety of the child, the officers retreated and called for assistance, Mara said.

Police set up a perimeter. Main Street was closed from West High School to Sullivan Street. Portions of Flaherty Lane, Sullivan Street and Schuyler Street were also cordoned off with yellow crime tape.

Evacuated from surrounding apartments, residents stood around talking to each other and speculating what was happening. Police walked by, some in SWAT clothes, others toting AR-15s.

Kim Nalen, who lives on the second floor of the building, said she heard the police speak to her first-floor neighbor, whom she knows only as Jim.

"There was a scuffle and they (police) yelled, 'Call it in,'" she said.

Then, many police started to arrive.

Police instructed Nalen and her two children to go up to the third floor, where she stayed with her neighbor until about 10 p.m. It was then police told the two families to quietly leave the building.

"I was a little scared. I'm pregnant, I just want to eat," Nalen said about her time waiting.

She said "Jim" installed video surveillance on the property, and recently upgraded it with audio.

"He doesn't like cops," Nalen said.

Otherwise, he is friendly enough.

"I talked to him at 11 o'clock today," Nalen said.

He lives in the apartment with a girlfriend, a 7-year-old girl and a baby, Nalen said. She believed the girlfriend was not in the apartment, but the baby and 7-year-old were.

"He knows if he keeps them around him, he's safer," she said.

The incident drew many out of their apartments.

Chuck Irvine stood on a Notre Dame Street sidewalk. He said he had just started to watch "COPS" at 7 p.m. when police knocked on his door and told him to leave.

"They just said to get out; there was a situation going on," said Irvine, who lives at 26 Sullivan St., across the alley from the three-story brick home where the SWAT team converged.

Source: Manchester Union-Leader

Addendum: Shortly after his seven-year-old daughter left the apartment, police killed the father, James D Breton.



Manchester standoff ends with girl safe, man shot dead

Manchester Police S.W.A.T. team
Members of the Manchester Police S.W.A.T. team gather behind their armored vehicle Friday afternoon as they arrive at the scene of a stand-off that police say developed after a man brandished a gun when they went to his apartment to check on the welfare of a child Thursday night.
(Bob LaPree)

MANCHESTER --The man involved in a three-day standoff with police on the city's West Side was shot and killed early this morning.

The 7-year-old girl, who was in the 298 Main St. apartment with the man, was not injured in the gunfire nor were police officers, according to a press release from the Attorney General's Office.

The child's mother works at his restaurant, Joe Kelly Lavasseur said.

The Attorney General's Office this morning assumed control of operations, and many of the city and state police left the scene.

All but the street behind the apartment building were open by police this morning, including Main Street, where the Department of Safety's Division of Emergency Services Incident Management Unit was parked near the apartment building.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin arrived around 9 a.m. and went into the apartment building with state and city officers.

When he left the scene about 45 minutes later, Strelzin said more information would be released this afternoon and a press conference would be held later today. He said authorities are still trying to figure out what happened.

Levasseur said his employee, Laura Gardner, has been in a relationship with the man in the apartment, Jim Breton. He said Breton and Gardner have a 7-year-old daughter together and live at the Main Street address. Gardner has an older daughter, about 17 years old.

Gardner had the couple's 7-year-old girl with her at Levasseur's restaurant, Theo's, on Thursday, when Breton came and took her away, Levasseur said.

The standoff began Thursday and continued through early this morning. Authorities said the man displayed a firearm when they went to his first-floor apartment in connection with concerns about a child.

About 10:30 a.m. this morning, only about a half a dozen Manchester Police officers remained at the scene at each end of the narrow street behind the building. State police investigators went in and out of the apartment and took pictures outside.

The State Police Major Crime Unit van arrived before 10 a.m.

Police wait out holed-up Manchester man

MANCHESTER — Police settled in for a second overnight standoff on the West Side Friday, after a gun-toting man inside his apartment apparently stopped talking to them.

Late Friday night, police used bullhorns to tell “Jim” to pick up a cell phone and talk to them.

Starting about 7 p.m. Thursday, “Jim” holed up in his first floor apartment at 298 Main St. It's possible he has at least a 7-year-old child with him.

West High School was closed Friday because of the incident. Portions of many West Side Streets, including Main Street, were closed to traffic.

And apartments near the three-story brick building remain evacuated.

“There's no reason to rush this,” said Police Chief David Mara at a Friday press conference attended by Mayor Ted Gatsas.

“Time is not the enemy here. We want to keep the dialogue going. Our main objective — our only objective — is to resolve this safely,” the chief said.

New Hampshire State Police were ready to relieve city police Saturday morning if needed, he said.

Mara said officers had maintained “intimate communication” with the man throughout the standoff.

The incident started when police approached the apartment to check on the safety of the child, Mara said.

The adult was agitated and showed a handgun, prompting officers to back off and call in help, he said.

A neighbor has said the man does not work and shares the apartment with his girlfriend, a baby and the 7-year-old.

Kim Nalen, who lives on the floor above the man, said he has not paid rent for months but has installed video and audio surveillance around the property.

“He doesn't like cops,” Nalen, said on Thursday. She knew him only by the name Jim.

The scene Friday afternoon was a mix of the intense and the relaxed. Officers drank beverages from fast food restaurants while decked in full gear.

After nightfall, one officer offered slices of pizza to colleagues who kept pedestrians away from blocked-off streets and areas.

About 8 p.m. Friday, Jim had apparently stopped talking to police.

Via a bullhorn, police told him to pick up a phone. They also used sirens and lights to try to coax him to talking.

“You're annoying me, so I'm annoying you. Pick up the phone,” an officer said through a bullhorn. The officer later called the man “Jim” and asked him to pick up the phone because, “we're not going away.”

The sirens and bullhorns stopped shortly before 9 p.m. but resumed at 10 p.m.

Mara had not said who is in the apartment with the man.

A woman who said she is his sister insisted he isn't violent. But Linda Boulanger, 48, admitted she had not been in contact with her brother for about 10 years.

She initially tried to pass the yellow police tape, demanding to be allowed to speak with her brother. Boulanger said she could talk him into leaving the apartment.

After speaking with police officials, a calmer Boulanger left the area, saying she would return with her cell phone. She said police promised she would be able to speak with him by phone.

“He's one of my best customers,” said Richard Elhachem, owner of A & R Munchies, which is at 20 Schulyer St., about 100 feet away from the apartment building. “He's a nice guy.”

Elhachem said his store, which was open Friday, was “dead” for sales.

But I'm not worried about my place,” he said. “I'm worried about those two girls. I hope he gives up.”

The Red Cross has established a shelter at the West Side Community Center and at 1800 Elm St. to house those evacuated from apartments.