Terror in the North Country by Trooper Ed Twohig, Vermont State Police ( Page 3 )
|New Hampshire State Police
Car. As they approached, "Major" alerted to the
hillside where the gunman waited in silence for the
officers to enter his preselected ambush zone. Trooper
Robinson's focus was shifted to the hillside and where he
saw a man with an assault rifle. Trooper Robinson yelled
for the group to take cover and alerted them to the
gunman. As he did, the gunman fired on the group and the
group returned fire. This initial barrage left three of
the group wounded, two with life threatening injuries. U.S.
Border Patrol Agent Pfeifer and New Hampshire Trooper
Caulder were both wounded critically and New Hampshire
Trooper Haase was wounded in the foot. It was later
learned that due to the altered appearance of the gunman
it was not until he began to fire at the group that they
realized it was him.
A 45-minute gun battle ensued and heavy suppression fire was used to protect the wounded officers. While the gun battle raged, the command post set up perimeter teams to make sure that the gunman would not be able to escape and a rescue team was assembled and prepared to rescue the wounded officers.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents Stephen Brooks, Ben Batchelder, Martin Hewson Jr., along with New Hampshire Fish and Game Warden Sam Sprague were sent in to effect the rescue along with Essex Country Sheriff Amos Colby who managed to get away from the initial ambush and who was able to direct this rescue team to where the fire fight was going on.
The rescue was effected and in the process, the gunman was shot and killed. Investigation revealed that the gunman had sustained multiple hits to
|the soft body armor that he
It should be noted that in total,
approximately 80 police officers responded to the scene
from many different agencies. From this initial car stop
to the final gun battle, the incident took over three
hours to play out. In that time, officers responded from
great distances. In addition to the agencies already
listed above, officers from the Caledonia County Sheriff's
Department of Motor Vehicles as both the Maine
State Police and Massachusetts
State Police responded to assist in the conclusion of
this incident. The Vermont Air National Guard assisted
with the assignment of one of their helicopters to
accompany the New
Hampshire State Police Helicopter on scene. The
help of all of these officers was very much appreciated.
The assistance of emergency medical personnel in this
incident should not be overlooked. The professionalism
and courage displayed by the Emergency Medical
Technicians on scene from Stratford Ambulance and
Colebrook Ambulance as well as Pittsburg Ambulance are to
be commended. An additional thank you to Dartmouth Hitchcock
Medical Center for dispatching their helicopter to
the scene. This was sincerely appreciated and noted by
the law enforcement community.
|have been inadvertently
overlooked in this article. To those people who put their
safety in jeopardy that day, thank you.
Tears, Drums and Bagpipes
In the days that
followed, the town of Colebrook tried to overcome its
shock and sorrow and bury its dead. On August 23, 1997
Troopers Lord and Phillips were honored in a memorial
service held at the Colebrook Elementary School gymnasium.
On August 22, 1997 the two Troopers were waked in the
same location. Police officers from all over were in
attendance over the two days, including Troopers from as
far away as Alaska. Over 4000 Police Officers stood in
the hot August sun on the 23rd to honor their fallen
brothers. A huge contingent of Firemen from all over also
came to pay their respects as Leslie Lord was the
Pittsburg, New Hampshire Fire Chief. The
funeral procession marched in from a staging area to
the beat of the drums and wail of the bagpipes. The route
of the march was lined with local townspeople there to
also pay their respect to Troopers Phillips and Lord.
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4 ] [ Credits ] [ Procession ]
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