CONCORD, NH — The wind blew out some of the candles Monday at a vigil for New Hampshire Hospital security officer Bradley Haas, but one speaker told mourners “hope and unity are our guiding lights.”
“Though we gather in grief and sorrow today, we also gather in unity and solidarity,” said Lori Weaver, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services. “We know it will take time. We also know that we can only heal together, no matter how dark it gets. I know that together we will create light as we support each other and connect as a community. "
Hundreds of people stood in the cold and dark on a soccer field near the state psychiatric hospital where Haas was shot to death Friday afternoon in the facility’s lobby. The gunman, John Madore, 33, was then shot and killed by a state trooper assigned to the hospital.
Speakers at the vigil praised Haas and the state trooper for saving lives. Ellen Lapointe, the hospital’s CEO, said Haas was known to all who worked in the building, greeting them in the morning and bidding them goodbye at day’s end.
“Under his quiet, unassuming demeanor, was a courageous professional who died protecting New Hampshire Hospital patients and staff,” she said. “We will all be forever grateful to him and hold him close in the warmth of our memory.”
Gov. Chris Sununu urged the crowd to make showing appreciation for law enforcement a daily practice.
“This isn’t just one day where we show our gratitude and our understanding of what sacrifice is. This has to be something that we take home with us, that we talk to our families about, maybe with our coworkers who aren’t with us today,” he said. “We’ve got to talk to folks and make them understand that it’s 365 days a year that we have to hold that gratitude and that thankfulness in our hearts for those who are standing up for us.”
Authorities are still investigating what led to the shooting. According to court records, Madore had been a patient at the hospital in 2016 after he was accused of assaulting family members.
Madore was charged with second-degree assault, simple assault and reckless conduct, but the charges were later dismissed, according to a court summary of the case. He was accused of choking his sister and grabbing his mother around the neck and knocking her to the floor because he was upset that they had put the family dog down, according to an affidavit.
When police arrived at the Strafford home, Madore was barricaded in an upstairs bedroom and said he had firearms and that it wasn’t going to end well, the police affidavit states. He eventually surrendered peacefully, police said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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