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Update: New details of manhunt after I-89 shooting

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Monitor staff
Monday, November 20, 2017

An Allenstown man is accused of firing a gun on Interstate 89 North Sunday night in the direction of a vehicle occupied by his girlfriend and a young child.

Elijah Gross, 40, led police on a more than 12-hour manhunt that ended peacefully Monday morning when he was taken into custody on the on-ramp for I-89 south in Sutton, according to court documents.

Gross is charged with two counts of felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and one count of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon. He was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord; however, county jail staff had not medically cleared him for transport. His arraignment was continued until Tuesday afternoon.

The multi-agency search for Gross prompted area schools to cancel classes Monday.

Kearsarge Regional School District Superintendent Winfried Feneberg told the Monitor he stayed in close contact with police into the early-morning hours, and decided at 3 a.m. that students should remain at home. The search for Gross was focused on an area between the district’s middle and high schools.

“We could not risk children’s safety by having them waiting outside at bus stops when someone was on the loose, reportedly with a gun,” Feneberg said.

The search for Gross began Sunday at about 5:30 p.m. New Hampshire State Police had received a call from a woman who reported that her daughter, Rebecca Manning, had been shot at while driving on I-89 toward Sutton.

In an interview with state police Sunday night, Manning said she had spent the prior evening with Gross at a Tilton hotel, where she alleged he had injected methamphetamine and threatened suicide with a .357 revolver.

She said the two left Tilton on Sunday for a residence in Concord because she needed to pick up her daughter. Once in Concord, Manning told the girl’s babysitter that she needed to get away from Gross and didn’t want him around.

While Gross was distracted looking at a washing machine in the basement, Manning fled the residence and headed north on I-89. But just 10 to 15 minutes into her drive, she said, she noticed a blue car pull up next to her and saw Gross, who was in the front passenger seat, trying to flag her down.

“She said she sped up to get away from his vehicle and a short time later heard a gun shot and knew that Elijah had shot at her,” Trooper Joshua Beauchemin wrote in a sworn affidavit.

That’s when Manning called her mother, who then reported the incident to police.

In addition to Manning, police also spoke with the man who had agreed to drive Gross. Jonathan McCormack told police he was unclear from the beginning where Gross needed to go, as Gross had only mentioned Exit 10. It was around Exit 7, though, that he said Gross “started acting weird, telling him which lane to be in and what speed to go,” the affidavit says.

“Jonathan said as they were driving along Elijah put his front passenger side window down, leaned out the window and fired a gun in the direction of a white vehicle (Rebecca’s vehicle),” Beauchemin wrote.

McCormack told police he was scared because Gross had a gun, which he believed to be a .357 revolver.

Near Exit 10, McCormack and Gross passed a state trooper, who pursued them off the Exit 10 off-ramp, where Gross quickly fled from the vehicle and ran into the woods.

As the search for Gross ensued, police told residents to lock their homes and vehicles, and to report suspicious activity. That search continued until almost 8 a.m.

Sutton police had received multiple 911 calls Monday morning about a suspicious person attempting to flag down vehicles in the area of Gile Pond Road and North Road. The callers said the man matched the description police had given of Gross.

Sutton Police Chief Jonathan Korbet said Gross was arrested without incident, although found in possession of a firearm.

Gross has an extensive criminal record in the region. State court records show he is named as a defendant in more than 40 cases, including for violating protective orders requested by Manning.

Manning is free on bail conditions while awaiting the resolution of a pending criminal case in Merrimack County Superior Court. Police allege she shot Gross in the leg in Allenstown this July. She faces charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, reckless conduct and domestic violence.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)