By Gretchen M. Putnam
GREENLAND, N.H. — A drug suspect unleashed a torrent of gunfire on police officers executing a search warrant at his home last night, killing this small town's police chief and wounding four other officers.
Police Chief Michael Maloney, who was set to retire April 20, was shot in the head and killed. Also injured was Rochester police Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, from Haverhill, Mass. He was shot in the chest and underwent surgery, but is expected to survive, sources said.
The gunman, found dead around 3 this morning in the home, was identified as 29-year-old Cullen Mutrie, sources confirmed. Police say Mutrie had barricaded himself in the home at 517 Post Road earlier with an unidentified woman before killing her and committing suicide. Officers from dozens of state and local law enforcement agencies had surrounded the home as a state police helicopter hovered overhead. Armored vehicles were brought in from as far away as Nashua.
Police were evacuating homes in the area into the early morning hours. About 1 a.m, the southbound side of I-95 was shutdown as heavily armed officers searched the area. About 1:45 a.m, officers were preparing to send a robot into the darkened home.
According to the Portsmouth Herald, Mutrie was charged early last year with possession of anabolic steroids. The drugs were found on Mutrie's coffee table on July 24, 2010, when officers went to confiscate guns after his arrest on charges of domestic assault. The drugs were not verified as steroids by the state crime lab until six months later, the newspaper reported. A report heard on the police scanner described Mutrie as "juiced" and extremely muscular.
Mutrie's Facebook page states he previously worked with the Hampton Falls Fire Department and attended Northern Essex Community College where he studied paramedicine.
The incident started about 6 p.m. in this small town just outside Portsmouth. At midnight, Mutrie remained holed up in the home near Interstate 95. The officers at the scene were part of a regional drug task force and were executing a search warrant on the home, sources said. Mutrie opened fire as they tried to enter the home.
The three other officers wounded were: Dover, N.H., Police Detective Gregory Turner, 21, who was shot in the shoulder; University of New Hampshire Police Detective Eric Kulberg, 31, who was shot in the arm; and Newmarket Detective Scott Kukesh, 33, who remained in the intensive care unit with a bullet in the chest early this morning awaiting surgery. Turner and Kulberg were released from the hospital last night.
"We are working with federal state and local law enforcement to try to obtain a peaceful resolution," Attorney General Michael Delaney said last night. "I do want to extend my thoughts and prayers to families and relatives and loved ones of the police officer that has been killed and the four police officers that have been injured."
The shooting devastated Greenland, a town of 3,500 near the seacoast that has just seven police officers including chief Maloney.
"It's a blow to all of us. You're stunned. It's New Hampshire, it's a small town," said John Penacho, chairman of the town's Board of Selectmen. "We're stunned. I mean all of us. It's an unbelievable situation."
Streets all around the home were blocked off and officers stood at roadblocks in the pouring rain.
State police and officers from many departments responded after the initial call around 6 p.m.
Delaney said he couldn't provide much other information about the shooting.
Gov. John Lynch was at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where the officers were taken. At 10:24 p.m., a hearse was seen driving away from the Portsmouth Regional Hospital trailed by a single police cruiser.
"This is a tragic incident, and my thoughts and prayers are with the officers involved and their families," Lynch said.
The tree-lined street, closed off by police, features single-family homes and duplexes. The shootings took place at 517 Post Road, a two-bedroom, 1 1/2 -story structure that's listed as owned by the Beverly Mutrie Revocable Trust, according to tax assessor records.
The town's schools were expected to be closed today, because law enforcement officers are using the elementary school as a staging area.
Asked what the town will do to help residents cope with the tragedy, Penacho said "We'll do whatever we need to do." Now split by I-95, the town is one of the oldest settlements in the state.
Shortly after Maloney's death, Newmarket Sgt. Tara Laurent was sworn in as Greenland's new police chief. Laurent was chosen last week to succeed Maloney following his retirement April 20.
The Associated Press and staff from Foster's Daily Democrat contributed to this report by Gretchen Putnam. She can be reached at email@example.com.