Gilmanton town administrator to retire

GILMANTON — Town Administrator Paul Branscombe will retire from municipal government on March 10, he said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Branscombe was hired by the Board of Selectmen in July of 2015 and has served the selectmen through good and bad times over the past two years.

"This has been a wonderful experience," said Branscombe. "Had I not come here, I never would have met my wife."

Branscombe said that he has been training former Assistant Town Clerk Tax Collector Heidi Duval to take over his position, with the selectmen's permission, and has recommend the board hire her.

– Gail Ober

Jump-start destroys cars, scorches home


LACONIA — Two cars were destroyed and a house was scorched when an attempt to jump start one of the two cars went awry, sparking an explosion and fire at the home of Warren Bailey, the renowned radio personality, at 284 Pine St. around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The two sedans, a 2000 BMW and 2016 Kia, were parked nose-to-nose in the driveway alongside the house. Baily said that to jump start the BMW he connected the cables and started the Kia, then stepped into house for moment, apparently leaving the cables connected and motor running. Suddenly he heard a loud explosion.

"There was fire everywhere," he said. Right away he called 911, as flames were beginning to lick at the side of the house just a few feet from the burning cars.

Deputy Fire Chief Kirk Beattie said that when firefighters arrived "There was lots of fire." He said that although fire had reached the house and climbed the wall, firefighters knocked it down quickly. As firefighters reached the scene, Beattie said, there was another explosion and he sensed that magnesium, perhaps on the engine block of the BMW, had been ignited. Although the outside of the side wall of the house was burned and charred by the fire and stripped by firefighters extinguishing lingering hot spots, the interior of home was spared from fire damage.

Bailey mourned the loss of what he called "a classic BMW," but said that no one was injured, the house is "OK but smells real bad and the other stuff can be replaced. Well, not the BMW." He praised the firefighters for their prompt response and efficient work.

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Franklin fugitive almost shot by police when caught


FRANKLIN — A prosecutor told a judge on Tuesday a Franklin police officer had his finger on the trigger and was prepared to shoot a suspect who had leveled a pistol at him, when another man walked into his line of fire.

"But for another individual coming in between, Mr. Brouillard may not have been here today," Franklin Police Prosecutor Chris Ahern said of the white-knuckle escape.

Ryan Philip Brouillard, 33, formerly of 21 Pleasant St., Apt. #3, Franklin, was ordered held on $251,000 cash only bail following his Tuesday morning arraignment in the 6th Circuit, District Division, Franklin Court.

He has been charged him with two counts of criminal threatening accusing him of pointing a Glock semi-automatic pistol at Franklin Police Sgt. Eric Drouin and Tilton Officer Abraham Gilman and saying he would shoot them.

Brouillard is also facing felony charges of reckless conduct for firing a handgun near Sgt. Drouin, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and driving after being declared a habitual offender. He is additionally charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.

The incident began in the early morning hours of Dec. 28 when police were called to respond to a noise complaint at 31 Pleasant Street in Franklin.

Franklin Police Officer David Gotthardt and Sgt. Drouin went to the beige apartment building, just a few houses up the hill from the intersection with Central Street about 2:18 a.m. Officer Gotthardt knocked at the door and spoke with Brittney Kearney, 28, who told him that Alexander Bell, 42, and Brouillard had just been at the residence. As the officers knew Brouillard was wanted for violating parole and that Plymouth police had issued a warrant for his arrest, they began looking for him.

As Bell lived at 320 Prospect St., across from Mojalaki Country Club, Officer Gotthardt went there and could see both Bell and Brouillard inside and radioed Sgt. Drouin, who called for backup.

Meanwhile, Brouillard opened the front door, looked out and, using vulgarity, indicated that he knew police were on the property. Sgt. Drouin stepped out from behind a parked vehicle, and "illuminated Brouillard with my flashlight and pistol." Brouillard ignored a command to put his hands up and instead stepped back inside and slammed the door.

According to an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant, Sgt. Drouin went to the southwest corner of the house as Tilton Police Officer Abraham Gilman arrived and began walking up the steep driveway, and heard what sounded like a gunshot. Drouin began heading toward Officer Gotthardt's position on the southeast corner when he heard him make a radio transmission but was unable to make it out.

Brouillard had apparently fled out the back of the house and encountered Officer Gotthardt, who ordered him to the ground to no avail. Gotthardt attempted to Taser the suspect, but the device failed to deploy and Brouillard retreated back inside the house.

As Officer Gilman repeatedly yelled for occupants of the house to come out with their hands up, Sgt. Drouin reported the occupants were yelling and screaming, asking what was going on, and why police were there.

Bell and Shannon Lundy, 31, who also live at the residence, came out with their hands up. Brouillard appeared in the doorway and Sgt. Drouin said the suspect lifted his right hand but that a curtain on the door made the officer unable to tell what was in the suspect's hand. But when Brouillard pulled the curtain away, Sgt. Drouin said he spotted a black grip and a silver colored slide of what appeared to be a Glock pistol. Sgt. Drouin aimed his pistol at Brouillard, identified himself as a police officer and ordered the suspect to drop the gun and put his hands up.

Brouillard responded by pointing his pistol at Drouin and saying that he was going to shoot the police and kill anyone who tried to arrest him before retreating back into the house.

Bell and Lundy got into a truck parked in the driveway behind Sgt. Drouin as Brouillard again approached the door and raised the gun and allegedly began screaming that he was going to shoot the police and kill anyone who got in the way.

Sgt. Drouin again ordered him to drop the gun and put his hands in the air, but Brouillard leveled the gun at the officer. Drouin said he'd lined up his sights and had just begun to pull the trigger on his service pistol when he spotted Bell walking into the line of fire. Bell's body blocked the doorway and he pushed Brouillard back inside while telling him "he wasn't going to do that (shit) at his place."

Brouillard was able to flee from the back of the house and jump a fence and as Drouin pursued and Brouillard tried to negotiate another fence, Drouin reported hearing a second shot, but said he was unable to see if it was fired at him or Officer Gotthardt, or if the gun went off as the suspect was running away.

There was no moon, or outside lights. The sole illumination, according to Drouin, was his flashlight and the weapon light on his pistol.

Following a three-day manhunt, Brouillard was discovered in a mobile home off Manchester Street in Concord, and after a 3.5-hour standoff involving some 20 police officers and two BearCat armored vehicles, tear gas was deployed to force him to surrender.

During the standoff, Brouillard repeatedly said he was going to kill the police, the prosecutor told Judge Edward Gordon. In asking for high cash bail, the prosecutor recounted Brouillard's lengthy criminal history which had resulted in him twice serving state prison sentences.

"Based on the allegations and your prior history I don't think the state's request is totally out of line," Judge Gordon said before bail at $50,000 on each of the five felony charges and $1,000 on the misdemeanor charge.

A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 9 at 12:45 p.m. and a public defender has been assigned to represent Brouillard.

01-03 Brouillard in court

Ryan Brouillard was arraigned via video hook-up in the 6th Circuit, District Division Franklin Court on Tuesday from the Merrimack County jail where he remains held in lieu of $251,000 cash-only bail. (Bea Lewis/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

01-03 Judge Edward Gordon

Judge Edward M. Gordon reads the five felony and one misdemeanor criminal complaint to defendant Ryan Brouillard when the suspect was arraigned on Tuesday. (Bea Lewis/for The Laconia Daily Sun)