Chief nearing retirement killed in NH drug bust

Associated Press Modified: April 13, 2012 at 12:45 am •  Published: April 13, 2012

GREENLAND, N.H. (AP) — A man opened fire on police during a drug bust Thursday night, killing a New Hampshire police chief just days from retirement and injuring four officers from other departments. Early Friday, the shooter remained holed up in the home with a woman, police said.

The shooting devastated Greenland, a town of 3,500 near the seacoast that had just seven police officers including Chief Michael Maloney, 48, who was due to retire in less than two weeks.

"In those final days, he sacrificed his life in public service as a law enforcement officer in New Hampshire," Attorney General Michael Delaney said early Friday.

Maloney had 26 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 12 as chief of the Greenland department. Two officers were shot in the chest and were in intensive care early Friday. Two others were treated and released, one with a gunshot wound to the arm and the other with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The four injured officers were from other area departments and were working as part of a drug task force.

John Penacho, chairman of the town's Board of Selectman, said Maloney was married with children.

"It's a blow to all of us. You're stunned. It's New Hampshire, it's a small town," he said. "We're stunned. I mean all of us. It's an unbelievable situation."

Jacqueline DeFreze, who lives a half-mile down the road from the house where the shooting happened, said she was devastated by reports that the chief had been shot. She'd planned to attend a surprise party for his retirement.

"I'm a wreck. He was just the greatest guy," said DeFreze, a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Rye. "He's kind-hearted, always visible in the community."

Early Friday, streets 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.

"We do have an active armed standoff at a home and we're simply not going to provide any information right now that may jeopardize that situation," he said. "We are working with federal state and local law enforcement to try to obtain a peaceful resolution."

Gov. John Lynch was at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where the officers were taken. He asked residents to pray for the injured officers and Maloney's family.