Police captain says Tuesday night chase near library reached tense moment when homeless man pulled a knife
Published DateLACONIA — Uniformed city police officers on their way to detail duty at a Gilford concert venue apprehended a man homeless man Tuesday evening who allegedly refused to stop for police and pulled a knife on one of them after they witnessed an altercation at the Laconia Public Library.
Joseph Coughlin, 30, whose temporary address is given as the Carey House on 6 Spring St., is charged with three counts of felony criminal threatening, two counts of possession of controlled drugs, one count of resisting arrest, and three counts of violating a domestic order of protection issued by the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin District on January 17 and served to him on June 19.
Coughlin is accused of having three guns in his possession, which is a violation of an order of protection. He was ordered held on $5,000 cash-only bail.
According to Capt. Bill Clary, he and two other officers were headed toward the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook at 6:30 p.m. in an unmarked cruiser and while on Church Street, near the Public Library, he noticed some kind of altercation between three men. He said two of the men ran in one direction and one man ran in the other — behavior he said was unusual enough to cause him to stop the car and see what was happening.
Clary followed the lone man, later identified as Coughlin, and the other two officers followed the other two men who stopped when they were told to.
Clary chased Coughlin up North Main Street while repeatedly yelling at him to stop and identify himself. He said Coughlin turned around twice and knew he was being ordered to stop by a police officer. Coughlin fell once, got up and kept running north.
When he got in front of the Laconia Clinic on North Main Street, Clary said Coughlin tripped on a curb and fell a second time. He said Coughlin got up and turned toward him holding a knife. He said he drew his gun and yelled at him to put down the knife. Coughlin complied.
Affidavits filed by a fourth officer, Senior Patrolman Robert Sedgley who was moving to the north of Coughlin to intercept him on North Main said he saw Coughlin fall once, put his hand on Clary's cruiser to help himself up, and continue to run from Clary.
He said he briefly lost site of Coughlin but heard Clary yelling at him to drop the knife.
Sedgely said once Coughlin was in custody he conducted a pat down and saw the butt of a hand gun in the right pocket of his cargo pants. He confirmed it was a Beretta semi-automatic pistol. He said also found marijuana in his pants pocket.
Clary told Sedgley he also saw Coughlin drop a bag, which Sedgley recovered. In it, said affidavits, were two more guns, a pill bottle containing Clonazepam for which there he had no prescription, and two pipes with marijuana ash residue. None of the guns were loaded and no ammunition was found.
The two other young men, aged 18 and 20, told police Coughlin was trying to sell them "hot guns" and had allegedly brandished a knife during the interaction.
Should Coughlin post bail, he is ordered to live at 6 Spring St.
Clary said the investigation continues and anyone with any information is asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or the Greater Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.
Clary said yesterday he and the other two officers were able to get to Meadowbrook in time for the work detail.