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Archive for the ‘SHOOTINGS’ Category

By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff

The Keene Sentinel: February 10, 2010

Keene police officers are an exception in the Monadnock Region because they do not carry Tasers — stun guns that can zap offenders into submission.

But that doesn’t mean the city officer who shot and killed a man during a standoff last week would’ve used a Taser if he had one.

In the wake of the Feb. 2 shooting, questions have surfaced about whether Officer Joshua English and other officers who were with him could have used non-lethal weapons to diffuse the tense situation.

The Attorney General’s Office concluded in a preliminary investigative report of the incident that English, who joined the Keene police force in August 2004, was justified in pulling the trigger.

Hinsdale police Lt. Todd Faulkner is a court-recognized Taser expert who has provided stun-gun training to nearly every officer in the region who has the device.

Faulkner said officers are told to meet deadly force with deadly force. They should not bring a Taser to a situation involving a gun or knife, he said.

“The Taser is not the appropriate tool if you have a hostage and someone with a knife,” he said. “The Taser is extremely effective when deployed correctly. However, it shouldn’t be used in dynamic, deadly force situations.”

Tasers can come in handy when an officer is trying to arrest someone who’s combative or uncooperative. Instead of getting into a fight or using pepper spray, which can clear out an entire room or blow back into an officer’s face, the officer can subdue the troublesome person with a quick shock.

Keene Police Chief Kenneth J. Meola believes stun guns are effective tools, but said the city cannot afford to equip its 46 officers with the devices.

Police-grade Tasers cost about $800. Add another $22 for each cartridge and it would cost about $40,000 to equip the city’s officers with Tasers.

But that’s only the tip of the cost iceberg.

“It’s not just the initial cost. It’s the training and retraining costs,” Meola said. “We’ve looked at Tasers and they’re a very expensive tool to have. We have to prioritize our needs and training dollars and, at this point, getting Tasers hasn’t proven to be something we can do.”

English shot Charles E. Turcotte, 39, in the head while Turcotte was crouched on a bed behind his ex-girlfriend, Hae Kyong Whitcomb, also 39. Turcotte was holding a knife with an 8-inch blade against her throat, according to Attorney General Michael A. Delaney.

English and two other officers, including a hostage negotiator, tried to reason with Turcotte before the shooting, Delaney said. But Turcotte refused to drop the knife or release Whitcomb and he became increasingly agitated as the clock ticked, Delaney said.

English was armed with his department-issued AR-15 rifle. Another officer in the room had a shotgun loaded with rubber ammunition, which was never fired.

“Simply because we have something doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for every situation,” Meola said. “We bring it because it’s an option in our use-of-force continuum. We would never just go into a hostage situation with less-lethal rounds.”

Faulkner, who has been trained to use less-lethal ammunition, also said rubber bullets should never be used as an officer’s only option during a potentially deadly situation.

As for Tasers, he said the devices are extremely difficult to use in cramped locations. And if the device malfunctions, the intended target could easily rush and kill the officer who fired the Taser, he said.

A Taser has a range of 35 feet and fires two prongs at about 165 feet per second, but both prongs must hit the target and stay secured before the device can deliver a debilitating 50,000 volts of electricity.

“That officer has to be sure that when he pulls the trigger, both darts hit the target,” Faulkner said. “If that doesn’t happen, the Taser is ineffective. Then you could be facing a man with a knife, and that is a very volatile, deadly situation.”

When dealing with someone who’s armed, officers are trained to stay about 50 feet from the person, if possible, according to Faulkner.

The Spruce Street shooting occurred in a small bedroom, where English and two other officers were standing about 8 feet from Turcotte and Whitcomb.

During the standoff, English had his rifle pointed at Turcotte, who authorities said was shielding his body with Whitcomb.

“When you have someone hiding behind any object that could impede the Taser probes, you are in a situation where you could have Taser failure,” Faulkner said. “In that kind of situation, common sense would dictate that the Taser is not the right tool.”

Despite the limitations of stun guns, Faulkner said he couldn’t imagine being without one.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

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‘It’s Your Duty’

Former officer talks about pulling the trigger

By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff
The Keene Sentinel: February 06, 2010

A retired Keene police officer who shot a man during a confrontation in 1998 said he questioned himself after the shooting but quickly came to terms with what he did.

Carl Patten Jr., 53, of Troy agreed to speak with The Sentinel about the shooting to offer insight on what an officer goes through when he pulls the trigger.

On Tuesday, a Keene officer shot and killed 39-year-old Charles E. “Chuck” Turcotte during what authorities have described as a hostage situation and standoff. Turcotte was allegedly holding a knife to his ex-girlfriend’s throat when the officer fired a bullet into his head.

Patten shot David A. Ward, then 30, after Ward pulled a gun on him and another officer outside a city convenience store in September 1998. Ward, who was wanted for parole violations, aimed his gun at Patten and squeezed the trigger, but it misfired.

Patten returned fire, hitting Ward multiple times in his shoulder and legs.

When Patten saw Ward point a handgun at him, he said, he had a split-second to react.

“It comes down to training and instinct,” said Patten, who had 17 years of police experience when the shooting occurred. “You’ve got to make that decision and you can’t think about it for five minutes. You’ve got to do it now.”

Ward survived the shooting. He was eventually convicted of an array of charges and sent to prison.

After the shooting, Patten handed his gun, which had become evidence, over to a supervisor. Then he was interviewed by members of the state Attorney General’s Office.

“They want to know the facts about what happened,” he said. “The interview is long, an hour or two, and there could also be follow-up interviews. They also go out and interview everyone else who was involved so they can corroborate your story.”

Patten was placed on administrative leave for about two months. An avid outdoorsman, he said he spent the time hunting deer and pheasant. He also thought about the shooting.

“Everybody deals with it differently,” he said. “You run the scenario through your mind. You ask yourself if you could have done something differently.”

He returned to work after being cleared by a mental health counselor and the Attorney General’s Office, which determined that he was justified in using lethal force.

Under state law, officers may use deadly force if they are defending themselves or another person from what they reasonably believe is a lethal threat.

“Once you understand that you did what you had to do, what you were supposed to do, you move on,” he said. “You’ve taken an oath to protect lives and the safety of others. It’s your duty. It’s your obligation.”

Patten retired in 2004.

When N.H. State Police Trooper David Hinkell shot and killed Sasha A. Yuksel, 35, during a July 2006 traffic stop, Patten said he offered his support. Hinkell was being attacked by Yuksel and had tried to use his Taser and pepper spray before he shot the man.

Patten also contacted Swanzey police Cpl. Robert Eccleston after he shot Jeffrey E. Richardson, 24, while he was being dragged by Richardson’s car last July.

Eccleston and Hinkell did not return messages from The Sentinel seeking comment.

Patten said he would like to speak with the Keene police officer involved in the most recent shooting. The Attorney General’s Office is withholding the officer’s name until the preliminary investigation is released Monday.

“Most guys go through their whole career and don’t pull the trigger,” Patten said. “It’s an unfortunate thing when you have to do that, but I guess it happens every day across the country.”

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By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff

The Keene Sentinel: February 04, 2010

The man killed during a standoff with police Tuesday night in Keene was a father of four and the son of a veteran police officer.

A Keene police officer shot Charles E. “Chuck” Turcotte, 39, while he held a knife to his ex-girlfriend’s throat at her residence on 48 Spruce St., said Senior Assistant Attorney General Janice K. Rundles.

Turcotte died from a single gunshot wound to his head, according to N.H. Chief Medical Examiner Thomas A. Andrew. His death has been classified as a homicide.

The ex-girlfriend and homeowner, identified by property records and friends as Hae Kyong Whitcomb, was not injured and neither were her teenage son and daughter, who were inside the residence during the incident, Rundles said.

The Attorney General’s Office is withholding the identities of the ex-girlfriend, her children and the Keene officer who shot Turcotte during the standoff.

When asked to explain why the officer is not being identified, Rundles said: “We’re still conducting interviews. We’re still looking at records.”

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in police-involved shootings.

One of the teens inside the residence called 911 at 9:42 p.m., and said Turcotte had broken into the house and was threatening Whitcomb, Rundles said.

Rundles said two officers were initially sent to Whitcomb’s house after the 911 call, and two others were there when the shooting occurred. She said the standoff was “fairly brief,” but declined to provide a timeline.

Witnesses said more than a dozen police cruisers were parked outside the house after the shooting.

Turcotte’s father, Roger A. Turcotte, was working as a lieutenant with the Stoddard Police Department and as a sergeant with the Roxbury Police Department when he died in March 2007. His law enforcement career began in 1995, when he was hired by the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office. He went on to serve as a police officer in Nelson, Surry and Winchester.

Charles Turcotte worked as a carpenter and lived in Keene. He fathered two children, a son, 10, and a daughter, 8, with his ex-wife, Tracy, of Swanzey, according to court documents in a divorce and child support payment case at Cheshire County Superior Court.

Charles and Tracy Turcotte filed for divorce in May 17, 2005, citing irreconcilable differences. She could not be reached for comment.

Turcotte also had two daughters, ages 12 and 14, with a former girlfriend, Jennifer L. Garner of Swanzey.

In 1993, Garner filed for a restraining order against Turcotte. Details in the case were not available because the file at Keene District Court was destroyed in 2002.

Garner’s longtime partner, Greg Willette, said Turcotte was a loving father who relished the time he spent with his daughters.

“He enjoyed taking them camping,” he said. “The girls really looked up to him. He was greatly loved. Even Jen, who hasn’t been with him for years, still cared for him. … He had a lot of friends in the Keene area. He was a funny guy. He was good at lifting other people’s spirits up, except for his own.”

Turcotte and Whitcomb had dated for two years and lived together until last month, when their relationship fell apart and he moved out of her house, Willette said.

“I just think Chuck loved really hard and was having a hard time letting go,” he said.

An employee at a neighborhood market near Spruce Street said Turcotte came into the store last week and talked about having a bad breakup with Whitcomb.

“He wasn’t very happy about it,” said the employee, who requested anonymity.

Whitcomb was a regular at the market, where she bought lottery tickets.

“She came in probably twice a week,” the employee said. “She keeps to herself, but she’s a really nice lady.”

No one answered the door at Whitcomb’s house late Wednesday afternoon when the yellow crime-scene tape that had surrounded her property was gone and the police cruisers had driven away.

The Attorney General’s Office continues to investigate the shooting and is releasing few details on how the situation unfolded.

Keene police Lt. Shane C. Maxfield, who declined to speak about the shooting, but agreed to talk about police tactics dealing with deadly force, said officers are trained to aim for the center of a target. In an ideal situation, this would be a torso, he said.

“That’s general firearms training principle,” he said. “But if somebody is shooting at me and the only thing I can see is their knee, then I’m going to end up shooting at their knee because that is the only target that is available to me.”

Maxfield added that police are “not trained to shoot to wound people.”

“The thing about shooting somebody in the knee is if you shoot the knee you have no idea what that person is going to do afterward,” he said. “They’re usually still perfectly capable of doing most of the bad stuff they were planning to do.”

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SWAT team

By PHILLIP BANTZ

Sentinel Staff

The Keene Sentinel: August 26, 2009

CONCORD — The state’s special operations teams could use more training and more members, but protocols the police groups follow meet or surpass national standards, according to an independent review ordered in the wake of a deadly gunfight.

The National Tactical Officers Association released its glowing review of the N.H. State Police SWAT team and the state’s 10 regional special operations teams Tuesday at the N.H. Police Standards and Training Council headquarters in Concord.

The council, a state agency supported with taxpayer dollars, was billed $48,554 for the review.

The council commissioned the review after a special operations team, which is similar to a SWAT team and comprised of local police and sheriff’s officials, was involved in a fatal gun battle July 26, 2008, in Charlestown.

While serving a search warrant, members of the Western N.H. Special Operation Unit and other law enforcement agencies found convicted felon Anthony “Tony” Jarvis Sr., 53, holed up inside a camper and learned that he was possibly armed. When Jarvis refused to exit the camper, police tossed a flash-bang smoke grenade inside and N.H. State Police Trooper Phillip Gaiser entered.

Jarvis opened fire with a handgun, shooting Gaiser twice in the leg and once in the hand. Gaiser returned fire and killed Jarvis, who was drunk, according to a report from the N.H. Attorney General’s Office.

The report from then-Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte concluded that Gaiser, who survived the ordeal, was justified in shooting Jarvis, but also raised serious concerns about how the incident was handled.

Ayotte’s concerns, which centered on rampant miscommunication among police — Gaiser was never told that Jarvis was likely armed before he entered the smoke-filled camper holding his Taser, for example — were forwarded to the standards and training council.

The council then hired the National Tactical Officers Association to review the state’s special operations teams. The association is a seven-member board comprised of active and retired law enforcement officials from Arizona, California and Pennsylvania.

The board looked at the policies and procedures that the state’s special operations teams have in place, but did not review the Charlestown shootout.

Department of Corrections Commissioner William L. Wrenn and the standards and training council refused to discuss the shootout or the attorney general’s concerns with the incident when the board’s report was presented to state law enforcement officials and reporters.

The board concluded that rapport among the special operations teams has recently improved; the teams are capable of handling myriad crisis situations, such as hostage negotiations; they have the best available non-lethal equipment, such as Tasers; and they are following nationally accepted policies and procedures.

While highly complimentary of the state’s special operations teams, the board issued several recommendations for improvement:

● The standards and training council should work more closely with the teams during training sessions.

● Each member of every team should receive at least 16 hours of firearms and tactical training a month. Members have received an average of eight hours of training a month.

● The size of each team should gradually increase from the minimum 18 members to up to 30 members.

The standards and training council will consider the board’s recommendations over the next several months before deciding whether any policy changes should be made, Wrenn said.

“I think this is a target we can certainly strive for,” he said.

Review board member Ronald M. McCarthy, a former Los Angeles Police Special Weapons and Tactics supervisor, said the Granite State’s regional special operations police teams are groundbreaking.

“I think you’ve started something here in New Hampshire that’s going to be copied nationwide,” he said.

The state’s special operations teams rank among the top 10 percent of similarly sized teams across the nation in terms of hiring standards, training, model protocols and equipment, according to the review board.

“You have competent people who care about your teams. The sheriffs and chiefs of police are doing a fine job in my opinion,” said board member Brock J. Simon, a retired Los Angeles County deputy sheriff.

McCarthy stressed that the board is not a “rubber stamp for law enforcement” and has issued unflattering reviews of other law enforcement organizations, including the SWAT team in Tulsa, Okla., which McCarthy called a “threat to the community.”

McCarthy was also hired by the city of Seattle as a consultant to review the World Trade Organization conference riots in 1999 and found that then-Mayor Paul Schell and city police were to blame for the infamous “Battle in Seattle.”

“We do honest evaluations,” McCarthy said. “We have a history of being critical when we think people have not lived up to the standards that they should.”

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Peter Simon

Peter J. Simon

By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff

The Keene Sentinel: August 22, 2009

The man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase Friday that involved gunshots being fired at his pickup and left a bus passenger critically injured was arraigned later the same day while wearing a hospital gown.

The top of his head marked with lacerations, Peter J. Simon, 39, learned in Keene District Court about the charges he faces so far: two counts of reckless conduct and one count each of resisting arrest and disobeying police.

Judge Edward J. Burke set Simon’s bail at $100,000 after hearing a rundown of his criminal history, which spans from Arizona to Montana and includes convictions for battery on police officers, fleeing police, assault and being a fugitive from justice, according to Keene police Lt. Peter S. Thomas.

Simon’s last known address is the Phoenix House Brattleboro Center. But Simon is no longer a resident of the substance abuse treatment center, according to Richard Turner, vice president of Phoenix Houses of New England.

Citing privacy laws, Turner declined to disclose details about Simon’s time at Phoenix House or where he went after he left.

Simon did not have an attorney during the arraignment and appeared disoriented in court. He asked if he could make a phone call and, later, if he could press charges against the N.H. State Police trooper who fired shots at the pickup he was driving during the chase.

“So because I didn’t stop you guys shot at me,” he said, “and then I ran into somebody else.”

Simon had just arrived at the arraignment from Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, where he was taken after the crash.

Medical staff cleared Simon to leave the hospital and attend the arraignment. He was taken to the Cheshire County jail in Westmoreland after the hearing.

Police began chasing after a black Dodge Ram pickup Simon was driving after other drivers spotted him heading the wrong way on Route 12 and driving over curbs and medians, according to Cheshire County Attorney Peter W. Heed.

The pickup also rammed the back of a red car on Route 12, Thomas said. Police want to speak with the driver of that car as part of their criminal investigation against Simon.

The pickup eventually turned into the Monadnock Marketplace during the chase and began tearing around the parking lot of the nearby N.H. State Police Troop C barracks, police said. The pickup then headed into the shopping center and made a U-turn, according to witnesses.

Trooper Kelly Wardner stopped her cruiser near the middle of the road at the exit of the shopping center, stepped out of the vehicle and fired several shots at the driver’s side of the pickup as it passed her, according to court documents Burke read during Simon’s arraignment.

Some of the shots hit the pickup, which exited the shopping center, made a left turn toward the Winchester Street-Route 101 roundabout and then veered from the eastbound lane into the westbound lane, police said.

Michael Baker, a driver for Thomas Transportation, was driving a bus in the westbound lane when he saw the pickup coming toward him and tried to avoid a collision, according to the transportation company’s owner, Ed Thomas.

“It was my understanding that the pickup truck was intentionally trying to hit him,” Ed Thomas said.

Ed Heywood, who was recently hired by the transportation company, was sitting in the passenger seat of the bus, Ed Thomas said. He said Baker was driving Heywood to the Division of Motor Vehicles office, which is near the state police barracks, so Heywood could pick up his commercial driver’s license.

Baker and Heywood were the only people in the 33-passenger bus when the pickup collided with it head-on.

The front passenger side of the pickup smashed into the front passenger side of the bus, spraying debris from both vehicles over the road.

While Baker suffered minor injuries in the crash, Heywood was critically injured and had to be flown by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. His condition was not available.

Simon allegedly exited the pickup after the collision, attempted to carjack a passing vehicle — police also want to speak with this driver — and then ran across a field to a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant on Key Road.

Employees at the restaurant said a bloody Simon asked if someone would kill him and vaulted the counter before police arrived. They said Simon ripped the barbs from a trooper’s Taser out of his back and was Tasered again in the neck before he was arrested.

Wardner remained on active duty after the shooting — she pulled the trigger because she believed the pickup Simon was driving was going to injure or kill her or someone else, according to Heed.

Under state law, officers may use deadly force in defense of themselves or others who they believe are in danger of being seriously injured or killed. Officers may also use lethal force if they are trying to stop a person who is committing a felony that involves violence, a deadly weapon or poses a serious danger to others.

A passer-by during the shooting, Clay Bradley, 45, of Marlow, said he had to “hit the deck” because he thought one of the bullets from Wardner’s gun was going to strike him. He said Wardner fired three shots at the pickup.

Bradley also said he did not believe the pickup was going to hit Wardner or anyone else in the vicinity when Wardner opened fire.

The N.H. State Police Major Crimes Unit in Concord continues to investigate the shooting. Capt. Mark J. Myrdek, who is involved with the investigation, declined comment.

“We’re still trying to make sure we get all the facts together,” he said.

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By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff
The Keene Sentinel: January 09, 2009
Years before Michael Addison murdered a police officer and became the first state resident in half a century to face execution, he showed up at a center for troubled youths seeking help.

Gilsum resident Steve Bernstein was running that center, Compassionate Connections in Manchester, and said he saw hope in Addison.

Addison was in his early 20s and had the rap sheet and rough upbringing that was ubiquitous among the young people Bernstein knew.

What set Addison apart from some of the others, Bernstein said, was his optimism and drive to succeed. He said Addison wanted an education and to learn a trade.

“He had a rapid realization that there was hope. A lot of people would be doubtful and skeptical and cynical in his situation,” Bernstein said. “This is a young man, at that time, with all the baggage he was carrying around, who really wanted to change his life.”

Addison came to Bernstein’s center in 2001 with a group of acquaintances with gang ties and significant criminal backgrounds, Bernstein said.

He said he saw many new faces come through the center’s doors, but they often failed to return or their visits were sporadic at best.

“Michael came in one day and more or less never left for a good year or so,” he said. “If people would come and show up and show up and show up I knew they were more serious than not. And he kept showing up.

“This is a guy who would wake up every day and have to weigh out if he was going to go out and do drugs and sell drugs or if he was going to come down to my teen center and not make any money.”

What Bernstein had to offer Addison and others like him was a career opportunity through his connections with various employers in the community. He would determine what they enjoyed, whether it was carpentry or tattoo artistry, and hook them up with a professional in that field.

“Michael was looking at me and my work as a way to better himself,” Bernstein said. “My sense is that he never got that kind of one-on-one attention before and he never got that kind of interest in him as a person before.”

Growing up in the crime-infested South Bronx “jungle” of New York City gave Bernstein firsthand knowledge of the allure and negative consequences tied to the street life.

Bernstein said he began committing petty crimes when he was young and eventually landed in jail.

“They fortunately had a wonderful mentoring program where I was able to do jail alternatively and I was taught a trade,” said Bernstein, now a master plumber. “My mentor was a guy who was in my shoes when he was younger. My work now is largely related to my experience with him.”

Under Bernstein’s guidance, Addison obtained his driver’s license, sought counseling for his behavioral problems and began pursuing his GED. Addison also expressed interest in becoming an electrician, and Bernstein said he was working on setting him up with an internship.

“I saw a sociability developing,” Bernstein said. “I would say he was getting more comfortable with his surroundings, and that was largely based on him developing a sense of hope for his future. That was certainly not in the cards for him before.”

Domestic violence, drug addiction, alcoholism and neglect shaped Addison’s upbringing, according to Bernstein and court testimony in Addison’s capital murder trial.

“Here was a young man who showed up to change his destiny,” Bernstein said. “He was as good if not better than most that I’ve ever met.”

Addison never left the center. The center left him. After working with Addison for about a year and a half, Bernstein said the grant money that was the lifeblood of his center dried up and he was forced to close its doors.

The next time he saw Addison’s face it was on the news.

Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs was trying to stop Addison in October 2006 in an inner city alley when Addison turned on him and fired a bullet into his head. Briggs later died at a nearby hospital, leaving behind his wife and their two sons.

“This was a good guy, a great cop and a great person,” Bernstein said.

Briggs may have been among the dozens of police officers who visited the center to interact on neutral ground with the city’s troubled youths, he added.

Bernstein now sees Addison, 28, through prison glass. The two visited before and during the trial.

They talked about sports and current events, especially the presidential election. Addison enjoyed seeing Barack Obama elected, Bernstein said.

“He was excited about an African American becoming our president. Not with respect to him (Obama) maybe cutting him some slack,” he said. “He was just very articulate about politics. It wasn’t racially motivated. If this guy had gone to school I think he would have been a very eloquent speaker.”

They talked about the murder mystery and detective novels Addison likes to read. They even talked a little about what was happening in the courtroom, but were restricted from discussing details of the shooting or the case because of the ongoing trial.

“Michael never talked about his guilt or innocence, the goodness or badness of his deeds. It was more like, ‘I’m here.’ I got the impression that the last thing he wanted to talk about is what he did,” Bernstein said. “He talked around it. He told me what he didn’t do, that he didn’t premeditate the murder.”

A member of Addison’s team of public defenders, Richard C. Guerriero of Concord, said Addison and Bernstein have a close relationship. He said Addison feels he can depend on Bernstein.

“Steve has been very supportive and a trustworthy and reliable friend to Michael and it’s very much appreciated,” Guerriero said. “He’s in a fairly desperate situation and regardless of what you think of the case it’s good to have people support you.”

Bernstein recently received authorization to visit Addison for the first time since he was sentenced to death. He said he expects they’ll pick up where they left off, which is exactly what happened during their first prison visit when they’d been apart for more than four years.

As Addison’s attorneys appeal his sentence, Bernstein is still fighting to change lives.

He oversees the AIM High apprenticeship, internship and mentorship program in Keene, which is similar to his first program in Manchester.

Fifteen youths are enrolled at Bernstein’s center. Many of them are high school dropouts. Some have substance abuse problems. Others come from broken homes.

Bernstein is determined to give them all an opportunity at a better life.

“The doors don’t open for the Michael Addisons of the world,” he said, “that’s why my work exists.”

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By PHILLIP BANTZ
Sentinel Staff
The Keene Sentinel: July 29, 2008
CHARLESTOWN — The Charlestown man who was gunned down during an altercation with police had a criminal history that spanned more than three decades and included convictions for stealing guns and robbing an elderly woman at knifepoint.

And his son, who police had apparently come for the night of the shooting, was also no stranger to the criminal justice system.

While arresting 26-year-old Jesse Jarvis on a probation violation Saturday, authorities said they learned that his father, Anthony “Tony” Jarvis Sr., had a weapon and was a felon, which is a crime.

Anthony Jarvis, 53, was subsequently killed in a hail of police gunfire when he refused to leave a camper on a friend’s property at 60 Summer St. in Charlestown, and a state police trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the shootout, authorities said.

One police bullet pierced Jarvis’ right leg, two went into his “trunk” and multiple bullets left superficial wounds on his body, according to Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie V. Duval.

Final autopsy results will not be released for another four to six weeks, pending toxicology results.

Keene-based N.H. State Police Trooper Phillip Gaiser, a 10-year veteran, was shot during the incident and remains in stable condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane E. Young said in a statement released Monday evening.

Citing an active investigation, Young has not said who fired the first shot or exactly where Gaiser was hit.

Meantime, Jesse Jarvis is being held in an isolation unit at the N.H. State Prison in Concord, according to John F. Eckert, executive assistant to the parole board.

“He’s been on isolation watch in health services,” Eckert said. “I believe he saw his father get killed. I believe he was in some kind of distress over that.”

Jesse Jarvis’ first documented run-in with the law occurred in October 1999 when he was 18.

He was drunk when he stole a pack of blank cassettes and film from a K-Mart in Claremont and struggled with a security guard, Sullivan County Superior Court documents show.

He was taken to the Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont after the incident, and tried to escape by climbing into the bathroom ceiling.

He was sentenced to two to seven years in prison after violating probation twice on two charges of robbery and attempted escape stemming from the incidents at the store and the hospital.

He served five years and one month of the sentence because he was unable to complete substance abuse programs in prison and another inmate accused him of assault.

A judge released Jesse Jarvis from prison in November 2004.

“In the meny (sic) years of my incarceration I have grown from a child to the man I am today,” he wrote in a letter to the court asking for an early release.

“I have learned how to live with the tests of staying clean in a environment where I’m forced to constently (sic) be around drugs such as heroin and prison made alcohol,” he wrote. “I know today I’m strong enough to enter the real world as a man.”

Nearly three months after his release from prison, Jesse Jarvis was arrested on a charge of simple assault for kicking, punching and spitting at Claremont police officers who were trying to stop a fight between Jarvis and another man, court documents show.

He began serving a two- to five-year prison sentence in July 2005 and was released on parole June 26, 2008, according to Jeffrey J. Lyons, spokesman for the N.H. Department of Corrections.

Within a week of his release, he walked away from a state-run substance abuse treatment program in Manchester and was listed as a fugitive from justice.

A warrant for his arrest was issued July 8, Lyons said.

The parole board has up to 45 days to schedule a parole revocation hearing, which will likely be held in late August. The board could decide to impose the remainder of Jesse Jarvis’ sentence, which means he could remain in prison until Jan. 31, 2010.

Like his son, Anthony Jarvis was a young man when he had his first brush with the law.

In February 1973, when he was 17, he stole $37 from the Goodwin Community Center in Claremont.

He later pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and larceny tied to the incident, court documents show.

A week after the community center break-in, he broke into Marson’s Store, also in Claremont, and stole six handguns, two binoculars and 17 boxes of ammunition.

He also admitted to committing the latter crime and served eight months in the Sullivan House of Corrections, where he forcibly stole jail keys from the jailor and was charged with theft.

He was convicted in June 1974 of burglarizing the Claremont Pharmacy and was sent to prison the next month, where he stayed until January 1975, when he was released on parole, said Lyons, the prison spokesman.

While on parole, he robbed an elderly woman of $60 at knife-point, pleaded guilty to the crime and was sent back to prison in October 1975. He was paroled three years later, Lyons said.

The last time Anthony Jarvis had contact with the state prison system was in 2000, when he received two years probation for being a felon in possession of a gun. During a domestic dispute, his wife, Lisa Jarvis, told Claremont police that he’d buried two pistols in their backyard.

Family members and friends said Anthony Jarvis turned his life around after his last conviction and had been counseling troubled youths.

“A lot of people don’t know him,” Mike Beaulieu, who grew up with Anthony Jarvis, told the Associated Press. “They read about the bad stuff, but he had a lot of good in him.”

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