Woman who died in NH standoff had dated gunman

Associated Press Modified: April 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm •  Published: April 14, 2012
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GREENLAND, N.H. (AP) — The woman who died during a standoff in New Hampshire that also killed a police chief was a 26-year-old cosmetologist who had dated the gunman on and off and had gone to him in recent days to help him sort through issues that were upsetting him, her mother said Saturday.

Brittany Tibbetts was shot to death Thursday, her mother, Donna Tibbetts of Berwick, Maine, said. Authorities have not given her name but have said a woman was in the Greenland home where police tried to serve a search warrant when a man inside opened fire, killing the chief and wounding four officers. After a tense overnight standoff, the gunman, Cullen Mutrie, was found dead in the home early Friday along with Tibbetts. Both died of gunshot wounds to the head in what's been ruled a murder-suicide, authorities said Saturday.

Donna Tibbetts said the pair dated off and on for about a year and a half. They were broken up and her daughter had moved back home, but "he in the last few days had some sort of issues that were upsetting him and she went back to try and help."

She said her daughter, an award-winning high school softball pitcher who was Maine Player of the Year in 2003-2004, went on to be trained and to work as a cosmetologist.

The hulking, 6-foot-2, 260-pound Mutrie lived along a busy street near Interstate 95 and had long been a thorn in the neighborhood's side, working on loud motorcycles and playing music deep into the night. He did odd jobs and helped with his mother's printing business, said Donna Tibbetts.

Anabolic steroids were once found in his home after he was arrested on domestic assault charges and officers entered to confiscate guns, The Portsmouth Herald reported last year. He hoped to become a firefighter, Tibbetts said.

"We had only met him a few times," she said of Mutrie. "He was nice enough to us. We might have had some concerns, but we just basically thought that Brittany was a big girl and it had to be left up to her. It was her choice."

"She cared about him. She must have seen something good in him. That was the type of girl she was. ... I don't want her life to be defined by this one thing because she was a beautiful, caring girl."

Mutrie was the target of the final drug bust that Greenland's slain police chief, Michael Maloney, was planning before he retired after more than a quarter-century in law enforcement.

Trying to rid a neighborhood of its menace just days before retirement proved to be the 48-year-old chief's final act.

"He died trying to make our community safer," said John Penacho, chairman of the town's Board of Selectman.

He was a comforting presence in the coastal town of about 3,500. Maloney seemed to be everywhere, working traffic details, keeping watch over band concerts at the park, always ready to listen to residents' concerns.

"He never put his hand up to stop a conversation and always made himself available," Another Greenland selectman, John Vitale, said after a memorial at a school Saturday. Many who didn't know Maloney attended.

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