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Manchester man pleads guilty to attempted murder of police officer

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A local man admitted Thursday to the April 12, 2013 attempted murder of a Manchester Police officer while fleeing police, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The shooting happened after the man bailed out of the passenger side of a vehicle stopped in the area of Somerville and Wilson Streets by Officer Aaron Brown.

Garrett Allen Gauthier, 22, pleaded guilty in Hillsborough County Superior Court North to the attempted murder of Officer Aaron Brown, as well as nine other charges including guns, drugs and his flight from police, the Union Leader said.

Gauthier’s sentencing is scheduled for 45 days. Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance proposed a maximum sentence of 20 to 80 years in prison on the attempted murder charge, with a minimum of a 15- to 40-year sentence. Under the proposal the sentences and fines on the remaining pleas would be suspended for good behavior, according to the Union Leader. If imposed, the sentences would be consecutive (rather than concurrent), the Union Leader said.

The April 14 Examiner.com article on the incident stated that Gauthier, then 21, was charged with Attempted Murder, three counts of Falsifying Physical Evidence and Possession of a Controlled Drug (prescription drugs) with the Intent to Distribute following his April 12 arrest.

The Union Leader explained further that at the time of his arrest, Gauthier “had in his possession 256 oxycodone pills, $800 in cash in his wallet and $930 in a roll secured by a black hairband in his pocket” as detailed to the court by LaFrance. Gauthier reportedly also had Suboxone in his sleeve.

The Examiner article’s details of the incident, as reported in a Manchester Police press release, were that Officer Brown stopped a vehicle (for a motor vehicle infraction) in the area of Somerville and Wilson Streets at about 10:20 a.m.

During the stop a passenger in the vehicle suddenly jumped out and fled on foot. Officer Brown pursued the suspect, during which there was an exchange of gunfire. The suspect reportedly fired at Officer Brown, who subsequently returned fire. No one was hit during this exchange and the foot pursuit continued.

Officer Eric Desmarais joined in the foot pursuit, which led to the area of Lincoln Street and Silver Street. The officers then took Gauthier into custody without further incident. Investigators remained on the scene documenting and collecting evidence, which included three handguns discarded by Gauthier during flight from the officers.

Police later found that Gauthier also had several active warrants including an arrest warrant out of the Boscowen Police Department for Bail Jumping. He was also held on an electronic bench warrant from Concord District Court for Violation of Probation and two electronic bench warrants, the Examiner article stated.

The Union Leader said that “Detective Brown, family members, Police Chief David Mara and dozens of Brown’s fellow officers were in the courtroom of Judge Gillian Abramson for the plea.”

If Judge Abramson rejects the terms (of the pleas), Gauthier can withdraw his pleas and go to trial, the paper said.

Sources: Manchester Police Department

New Hampshire Union Leader

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