Man suspected in Belmont shooting caught in Meredith

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — A three-day manhunt ended Friday afternoon when the suspect in a Belmont shooting was captured by local police, allowing residents to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

10-15 Jason Cuocolo

Jason Coucolo, 42, was taken into custody about 1:20 p.m., after he knocked on the door of a mobile home at Currier Park at 125 Livingston Road and wanted to use the phone.

"He asked if he could use my phone and mumbled something about kids," the resident recounted moments after Coucolo had been handcuffed, placed in a cruiser and whisked from the scene by Meredith police.

The resident explained he'd been up all night on Thursday with his sick son, had worked one of two jobs that morning and was napping before going to his second job, when the knock awoke him about 1:10 p.m.

"I didn't interact with him, I just called the police," the resident said, as he got into his car and left for work.

Another resident at the park said he was reading the newspaper when he happened to look outside and spotted
Coucolo coming out of the woods across Livingston Road from the trailer park, located less than 2,500 feet from the intersection with Parade Road.

"I knew it was him. I'd just looked at his picture," he said.

 He watched Coucolo walk up the center driveway to the property and head directly to his neighbor's trailer and knock on the door.

Having lost his voice box to cancer six months ago, "I couldn't call police," he said, as he pressed an electronic larynx against his neck, a battery-operated device that allows him to speak. Because he doesn't have a home phone and uses a flip-style cellphone, he explained he couldn't tip off police.

Coucolo was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, a dark-colored baseball hat and was carrying a walking stick that looked like he'd found it in the woods, said the resident.

"He didn't put up a fight. They just grabbed him. He was probably sick of running," he said of Coucolo's arrest.

With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, Coucolo most likely found himself cold, hungry and tired.

He was booked into the Belknap County Jail shortly before 2 p.m., and ordered held without bail pending arraignment. He has been charged with first-degree assault, criminal threatening and robbery.

"It's been just crazy that last couple of days," said Mike Collins who works at Ready Equipment at 25 Daniel Webster Highway.

On Wednesday, after authorities learned that Coucolo had reportedly rented a room at Vacation Escape Motel across the street, police converged on the property and closed the highway to all traffic. Collins and his co-worker were busy putting their showroom back in order after spending the holiday weekend at the Sandwich Fair when
they noticed the commotion.

"Police were walking around with AK's. It was surreal. You're just not used to seeing that," he said. "We started getting calls from our customers after they shut the road down asking if we were OK."

On Thursday morning, a lone Meredith cruiser was parked in their lot. Between 12:30 and 1 p.m., more than a dozen cruisers had arrived and a State Police helicopter was circling overhead. As police canvassed the woods and patrolled nearby residential neighborhoods, they advised homeowners to use common sense, lock their
doors and report any suspicious activity.

Attempts to reach police for details were unsuccessful.

Man sought in Belmont shooting tires of running, is caught by police

By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — A three-day manhunt for the suspect in the shooting of a Belmont woman ended when Meredith Police arrested Jason Coucolo about 1:20 p.m. today.

10-13 Jason M. Cuocolo

A resident of Currier Park on Livingston Road, called police at 1:10 p.m. to report the wanted man had just knocked on the door of his mobile home and asked to use the phone.

"He asked if he could use my phone and mumbled something about kids," he recounted moments after Coucolo had been handcuffed, placed in a cruiser and whisked from the scene.

The resident said he'd been up all night on Thursday with his sick son, had worked one of his jobs that morning and was napping before going to his second job, when the knock awoke him.

"I didn't interact with him, I just called the police," he said.

Another resident at the park who didn't want to be identified, said he was reading the newspaper when he happened to look outside and see Coucolo coming out of the woods across Livingston Road from the
trailer park.

Having lost his voice box to cancer six months ago, the man said, he watched Coucolo walk up the center driveway to the property and head directly to Dubois' trailer and knock on the door.

"I couldn't call police," he said, as he pressed an electronic larynx against his neck, a battery operated machine that allows him to speak. Because he doesn't have a home phone and uses a flip-style cellphone,
he explained he couldn't tip off police.

Coucolo was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, a dark colored baseball hat and was carrying a walking stick that looked like he'd found it in the woods.

"He didn't put up a fight, they just grabbed him. He was probably sick of running," he said of Coucolo's arrest. "Everybody can relax now he is in custody."

With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, Coucolo most likely found himself cold, hungry and tired.

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Masquerade for Belknap House

Benefit Oct. 21 for homeless shelter expected to open at the end of the year

By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Organizers of the Belknap House Masquerade Ball have enlisted the assistance of local artists and designers to create a unique and inspiring atmosphere for the ball, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 21, at the St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall.
The ball is a key fundraising event for Belknap House, a newly formed nonprofit family homeless shelter which will open later this year on Court Street in Laconia. Belknap House's mission, according board President Colleen Garrity, is to provide families in Belknap County a safe shelter, especially in cold weather months, when children are at risk during homelessness, and to empower families to become self sufficient and independent by making resources and educational opportunities available.
The evening will open with a silent auction and cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by a welcome to all guests at 7 p.m. A dinner prepared by Recipe for Success, a part of the New Hampshire Food Bank, will be served at 7:30 p.m. Dancing, with music provided by DJ Chris Laluna, starts at 8:45 p.m.
"We're working to turn the basketball court into a ballroom and make it really spectacular," said Edie Gault, Masquerade Ball Committee chairman. She said artists who are taking part include:
• Marlene Makowski, who is a professional event designer for fundraisers and other large functions and is also employed as the administrator of a Catholic Charities residence home in Manchester.
• Joseph Kildune, who is creating the chandeliers for the Masquerade Ball ceiling. He is employed at Autoserv in Tilton and creates large sculptures from auto body parts. He has a studio in Franklin and is part of the efforts to revitalize Franklin's downtown. For many years he was employed as an industrial designer in New York City and holds several patents.
• Jeri Bothamley, who is painting the giant pumpkin sculpture for the walkway into the ball and some of the masks. She is also volunteering her services as the interior designer for Belknap House. She is an interior designer, muralist, and well-known, juried local oil painter.
• Matthew Gault, who is building many of the props for the ball and also designed the ball's billboard advertising sign on Route 106. He is owner and operator of AquaGreens, where he designs and builds floating golf greens for driving ranges and does custom manufacturing for special events, movie props and corporate marketing events.
• Heather Hilton-Gault, who is painting some of the props for the ball. She is an artist whose specialty is abstract oil landscape. She has a Master's in Fine Arts from Leslie College and wanted to lend her artistic skills to help make the ball a fundraising success for Belknap House.
• Elaine Morrison-Smith, who is painting masks for the ball and has donated one of her framed paintings to the ball's silent auction. She is juried artist who has shown her works in many galleries around the state; she specializes in subject matter pertaining to those in the military and to those suffering hardships such as the homeless and the physically handicapped. She is very active in local social outreach efforts, such as the River Crew Arts, Stand Up Laconia, and Navigating Recovery. She is a retired special education teacher.
• Dick Smith is painting masks and has donated one of his a framed photographs to the ball's silent auction. He is a photographer and uses this skill in his work in the community with those populations suffering hardships such as the homeless, the physically handicapped, and substance abusers. He is very active in local social outreach efforts such as the River Crew Arts, Stand Up Laconia, and Navigating Recovery, and is a retired master's level social worker.
Meredith Village Savings Bank is the Platinum level, $5,000, sponsor for the masquerade ball, which Edie Gault says will become an annual event to help support the shelter.
"Our shelter, plus the education and resources we will be offering at Belknap House, helps families and children get on the right path," said Gault. "We're grateful to MVSB for sponsoring the ball at the Platinum level during this crucial time, as we simultaneously work to open the shelter and plan our first annual gala."
The shelter will also serve as a hostel for visitors of the Lakes Region from June through September. For more information about the Masquerade Ball and Belknap House, visit belknaphouse.org or facebook.com/belknaphouse.

10-13 masquerade
Planning for the Belknap House Masquerade Ball are, seated; Edie Gault, chair of the Masquerade Ball Committee; Elaine Morrison-Smith, Marlene Makowski, Heather Hilton-Gault; standing, Jeri Bothamley; Dick Smith, Joseph Kildune and Matthew Gault. The ball will be held Friday Oct. 21, at the St. Andre Bessette Parish Hall on Union Avenue in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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