LACONIA — The man charged in connection with a six-hour, armed standoff Thursday has been ordered by a judge to receive a mental health evaluation.
Superior Court Judge James D. O’Neill III ordered Hoon Nowack, 52, to receive the evaluation at Lakes Region General Hospital, where medical personnel will determine if he needs be sent to the State Hospital for further evaluation and possible treatment.
Nowack, a combat veteran who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, may also be receiving further treatment at a Veterans Affairs hospital under the terms of the order issued by O’Neill at the conclusion of a bail hearing Friday afternoon in Belknap Superior Court.
Nowack surrendered late Thursday afternoon, six hours after police surrounded his residence at Evergreen Condominiums off Weirs Boulevard.
He faces charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon — a felony — and resisting arrest — a misdemeanor.
At Friday’s hearing, Assistant Belknap County Whit Skinner proposed Nowack remain in preventative detention until he could be admitted to a VA hospital for mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Two VA representatives sat in the courtroom, including Stephen Plumb, a clinical social worker at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont.
Nowack’s lawyer, Allison Schwartz, argued however, that Nowack should be evaluated at the State Hospital since a petition for an involuntary emergency admission was already in place. But Skinner, who argued that Nowack is a danger to the community, objected because the defense attorney’s initial proposal did not ensure that once the defendant was released from the State Hospital he would return directly to jail. His release from the State Hospital could come in as few as 10 days after his admission, Skinner noted.
After a 15-minute recess Schwartz presented a more detailed bail proposal, which Skinner agreed to and the judge authorized.
O’Neill ordered that Nowack must be under the supervision of a Belknap County Sheriff’s deputy while he is at LRGH for an initial mental health evaluation, as well as during his transport to the State Hospital. After his release from the state mental facility, he will return to the Belknap County Jail where he will remain until such time as he is admitted to a VA hospital for inpatient treatment. If Nowack leaves the VA facility on his own, his status will revert to preventative detention, and so must return to the county jail.
According to documents filed Friday in Belknap Superior Court Laconia, police on Wednesday evening received a complaint and petition for a compulsory mental examination for Nowack.
His ex-wife made a statement which “referenced the discharge of a firearm,” according to an affidavit filed in support of his arrest.
About noontime Thursday, when the police arrived at Nowack’s condominium, the ex-wife told police that two of her children had seen a bullet-sized hole in the bedroom television, and that the window behind the television was damaged as well. A short time later one of the children confirmed to police about seeing the bullet hole and further told police Nowack “had been acting erratically lately and has refused treatment,” the affidavit states. It went on to say that Nowack owns several guns.
Schwartz told the judge that Nowack has no “significant criminal record.”
Nowack has a record of military service, both in the Marine Corps and more recently in the National Guard. He is retired from the military, according to his Linkedin page.
In 2009 he was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroism during combat action in Afghanistan, where he had been deployed to help train members of the Afghan army.
He served in the Marines during the Persian Gulf War, and then in 2005-06 he was stationed in Iraq, where he served as a mechanic and security guard for envoys.
In 2010 he was promoted to sergeant first class — a senior non-commissioned officer rank – according to an article published that year in the New Hampshire National Guard magazine.