New Hampshire Police Officer Shot Dead After Responding to Domestic Disturbance; Home Explodes, Burns

In this frame grab from television helicopter video, a home bursts into flames in Brentwood, N.H., Monday. (Photo: AP/WCVB-TV 5)
In this frame grab from television helicopter video, a home bursts into flames in Brentwood, N.H., Monday. (Photo: AP/WCVB-TV 5)

Authorities say a New Hampshire police officer was shot to death after he responded to a domestic disturbance at a home that later exploded and burned.

The gunman is presumed dead in the ensuing blaze.

Attorney General Joseph Foster says Monday night 48-year-old Steven Arkell of Brentwood was shot to death when he answered the call in a suburban neighborhood.

After the shooting, the suburban duplex home in a 55-and-up community burst into flames. A massive explosion blew the front off the house and within an hour, it was leveled.

Foster says 47-year-old Michael Nolan, the son of the homeowner, is the suspected gunman. He is presumed dead.

A third person was taken to a hospital.

Earlier Monday, Debra Vasapolli, director of public relations at Exeter Hospital, said that one person was taken to the hospital but said that person was not the victim of a gunshot wound. She declined to provide more details.

Aerial coverage from WMUR-TV showed flames burning through the roof of the house and an explosion punching out the front of the house shortly after 5:30 p.m.

After the blaze started around 4 p.m., firefighters were kept away from the scene. Within minutes of the explosion, the house was engulfed in flames as black smoke billowed over the neighborhood.

Neighbor Susan Hughes told the Portsmouth Press-Herald that she saw one police officer arrive at the home then heard “rapid gun fire.”

Police told her and her husband, Wayne, to shelter in their basement. Susan Hughes said she saw Walter Nolan, 86, being taken from the scene by ambulance. Public records indicate the house is owned by Nolan and he apparently lived in the home with his son, Mike.

After firefighters started attacking the blaze around 6 p.m., the fire was largely knocked down about a half hour later and it didn’t appear to have spread to neighboring houses.

Calls to the Rockingham County sheriff’s office and state police were not immediately returned. A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said he didn’t have any updated information.

SOURCE: The Associated Press

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