BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire police officer fatally shot by a man who later died in a roaring house fire was invited into the home by the gunman's father during an argument and was immediately cut down without a chance to draw his weapon, authorities said Tuesday.
The state attorney general's office said Brentwood Police Officer Stephen Arkell died before the conflagration on Monday that destroyed the duplex on a quiet suburban street and claimed the life of the suspected gunman, 47-year-old Michael Nolan. Gunshots through the walls and roof of the house sent neighbors and other officers fleeing for cover.
Arkell's body was found on the first floor while Nolan's was found in the garage area. Nolan's father, 86-year-old Walter Nolan, was treated at a hospital and released.
A second officer, Derek Franek, responded minutes later from the neighboring Fremont Police Department and found Walter Nolan out front. He found Arkell dead on the floor near a bullet-sprayed wall and escaped out the back and into the trees as Nolan opened fire on him; Franek did not return fire.
More testing is being done after an autopsy performed Tuesday on Nolan did not determine how he died.
Arkell, who was married and had two teenage daughters, had worked for the Brentwood Police Department for about 15 years as a part-time officer. He helped coach the girls' lacrosse team at Exeter High School, where both of his daughters play.
Bill and Lisa Dow, who own the Brentwood Country Store a few hundred yards from the Brentwood police headquarters, said they trusted the 48-year-old Arkell to take their problems seriously.
"He would come in off duty and just say 'Hey, everything OK?'" said Bill Dow. "Not a lot of cops would do that. I know he just wanted to serve his community."