Concord police: Man fired 17 shots into car
A Concord man sprayed 17 bullets into a car early yesterday morning after confronting a woman he is in an intimate relationship with at her Hall Street home, the police said.
Michael Eldridge, whose attorney said yesterday suffers from severe mental health issues, fired at an unoccupied vehicle owned by a man who was staying at the woman’s home that night, the police said. When officers arrested 44-year-old Eldridge, he told the police that he had miscounted his shots and had intended to use his final bullet to shoot himself.
Yesterday, Concord district court Judge Gerard Boyle ordered Eldridge held on $50,000 cash bail. Though both the prosecutor and Eldridge’s attorney said they would consent to him being treated at the state hospital while on personal recognizance bail, Boyle rejected the proposal.
Boyle said he would consider that arrangement if the state Department of Corrections believes Eldridge would not be a danger to himself or others while receiving treatment.
“The conduct in this matter is egregious, firing a firearm in a public place,” Boyle said. “And I have great concern for the safety of the public should you not be held on cash bail.”
The police said Eldridge showed up at the woman’s Hall Street home about 1:45 a.m. yesterday and began banging on the door. The woman told the police Eldridge is a co-worker and good friend whom she has been in an intimate relationship with. She said Eldridge has been going through a difficult time in his life and she has helped him cope with a divorce, the police said.
The woman reported that she stepped outside to tell Eldridge to leave and became nervous when he proceeded to keep both his hands behind his back. She asked him to show her his hands, but he showed them to her one at a time, the police said.
Prosecutor Tracy Connolly in court yesterday said that when the woman turned to go inside the home, Eldridge showed her the gun and asked, “Is this what you are looking for?” She went inside, then heard shots.
According to the police affidavit, the woman had a male friend staying at her home that night, a man Eldridge views “as competition.” Officers arriving at the scene found that man’s car had been peppered with bullets, with the windshield and a side window spotted with holes and the rear window blown out. Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley said Eldridge also threatened to kill that man when he was outside the home.
Eldridge fled the scene in a green Honda sedan but was located by the police about 2:37 a.m. – less than an hour after the shooting – when he checked in at Concord Hospital and told the staff he was “homicidal,” according to the affidavit. Eldridge later told an officer he was suicidal, not homicidal, and that he had intended to use his final bullet to kill himself. But O’Malley said the police were very concerned that Eldridge could have harmed others yesterday and not just himself.
After being booked at the Concord police station, Eldridge was taken to the county jail in Boscawen, where a bag of marijuana was found in his shorts, according to the police affidavit.
He was charged yesterday with misdemeanors of possession of controlled drugs and criminal trespass, as well as felonies of criminal mischief and reckless conduct. O’Malley said he will also be charged this morning with two felonies of criminal threatening, one for showing the woman the handgun and the second for telling the man he was going to kill him.
A probable cause hearing on the felony charges, where a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to be presented to a Merrimack County grand jury, is scheduled for Aug. 8.
In court documents, Eldridge said he works at the Concord Food Co-op, but the police affidavit doesn’t make clear whether that is where he met the woman involved in this case. A message left yesterday afternoon with a human resources manager at the market was not returned.
Eldridge appeared at his arraignment by video feed from the county jail and chose not to address the judge as he weighed whether to let him be treated at the state hospital. His long hair loose around his shoulders, Eldridge stood with his arms at his sides and was dressed in a blue paper jumpsuit that is typically given to inmates who officials fear may hang or otherwise harm themselves with access to fabric.