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Manchester shooting Monday sparked by routine traffic stop, attorney general’s office says

  • Authorities investigate at the scene of last night's shooting in Manchester.  (Jeffrey Hastings / For the Monitor)

    Authorities investigate at the scene of last night's shooting in Manchester. (Jeffrey Hastings / For the Monitor)

  • Wendy Lawrence, 45, was shot by police following a car chase on September 30, 2013.

    Wendy Lawrence, 45, was shot by police following a car chase on September 30, 2013.

  • Authorities investigate at the scene of last night's shooting in Manchester.  (Jeffrey Hastings / For the Monitor)
  • Wendy Lawrence, 45, was shot by police following a car chase on September 30, 2013.

The police chase that ended with the fatal shooting of a Canterbury woman Monday in Manchester began with a routine traffic stop, state officials have indicated.

While the shooting remains under investigation, the attorney general’s office yesterday released a statement providing new details about the events that preceded it, and the cause of 45-year-old Wendy Lawrence’s death.

In it, officials said Lawrence was pulled over about 6:30 p.m. when a state trooper witnessed her speeding and driving erratically southbound on Interstate 89 in Bow. Lawrence gave the officer a nondriver’s identification and told him she had a valid license, the statement says, at which point the trooper returned to his cruiser, ran her record and confirmed she was a habitual offender with a suspended license. As he awaited those results, Lawrence sped off.

The trooper followed, pursuing Lawrence briefly until he had enough identifying details about her and her vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, to make a future arrest. Minutes later, though, he spotted the car again, this time stationed perpendicular to the road at the end of I-89 in Bow Junction, according to the statement. Seeing the cruiser, Lawrence took off, nearly striking a pedestrian as she sped toward the southbound on-ramp to Interstate 93 at a high speed, the statement said.

At that point, several state troopers swarmed the highway and began a renewed pursuit, following Lawrence down the interstate, off Exit 9 and finally to the intersection of Dave Street and Kennard Road.

The details from there remain unclear. According to the statement and autopsy results, a trooper opened fire on Lawrence, hitting her four times, including once fatally in the chest. Lawrence was taken to a nearby hospital and was later pronounced dead.

The attorney general’s office has not identified the trooper, and said the office, along with the state and Manchester police, continues to investigate the shooting.

Lawrence, a former Allenstown resident, had been arrested multiple times in recent years and charged in various low-level crimes, including simple assault and, most recently in December, drug possession and resisting arrest.

But friends have questioned the police’s use of deadly force Monday.

Lawrence’s boyfriend, Charles Peter, described the action as “totally unnecessary.”

“I’ve been hunting all my life. I’ve never shot an animal 11 times to kill it,” he said, referring to the cluster of bullet holes in the Monte Carlo’s windshield.

Donald Brown, a neighbor who lives on the corner of Dave Street and Kennard Road and was home at the time of the incident, said he, too, thought the action seemed excessive, noting that, despite his proximity, he never heard Lawrence’s car slam into a cruiser, as earlier reports had suggested.

“I don’t feel that was the proper way to handle the situation,” he said.

Brown said he did not see the officer open fire, but after hearing gunfire he immediately looked out his window and saw three cruisers surrounding Lawrence’s car, and her inside of it.

“It looked like her hands were on the steering wheel and then they just fell,” Brown said.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

Related

Fatal shooting in Manchester not the first incident of its kind for state trooper

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The 45-year-old woman who died Monday in Manchester following a chaotic police chase was killed by a decorated state trooper with eight years of service who has taken part in two other officer-involved shootings in the past three years, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the incident. Though state officials have yet to publicly identify the shooter, others have … 1

Regardless of her past, I haven't seen any reports of anything this woman did in this circumstance to deserve the death penalty. Since when do we allow the police to also be judge and jury? The police view citizens as the enemy...I didn't know we were at war. Whatever happened to 'protect and serve'? Live Free or Die? What a joke.

So weird, we have this incident in NH and yesterday we had a woman at the capitol get gunned down. We do not have all the info on what actually went down here in NH. So we cannot judge. Sounds like this woman here in NH was driving with her licensed suspended and was a habitual offender. Till we hear the info we do not know. It is very easy to judge what a cop should have done when you have never been a cop and are required to make split second decisions, based on the the probability of others getting hurt or killed. So basically you are dictating how they should do a job you have never done. The media now puts out tidbits of info immediately, often times that info is incorrect, and folks speculate. I do not know why anybody would want to be a cop. They are often times tried in the media without facts. No wonder they want a tank for protection. I suggest the media knock it off with their reporting, assumptions, the relative interviews, etc till all the facts are in. All that does is sway opinions and degrade the policemen. There are bad apples in every line of work. But that is no reason to assume you know what went down.

Welcome to the police state. Resisting arrest is now a reason to shoot someone nine or ten times. It seems to me that to shoot someone, even if they steered a car in the direction of police is simply another overstep by the police state.

Please your hypocrisy is showing. And stand your own ground is different how? It is a Police State when they use their guns but it's acceptable for an armed fanatic to justify deadly force if they imagine they are threatened? It is too bad she broke the law but unfortunate that so many shots were needed, when a well placed one would have the desired effect. Just because you have a badge, doesn't make one a marksman. For the record, I always operated under the belief that you obey law enforcement as a means of common sense.

Lots of "probably" and "the way I see it" in the comments so far. Well, it looks to me like she was probably trying to run the trooper down or at least ram a car or cruiser and go back out onto public roads *way* out of control and a clear and present danger. But, what do I actually know?? Maybe we should await a thorough investigation accompanied by a responsible account of what was actually happening here before calling for such as "locking up that state trooper".

Give a macho boy a gun and he will use it and people think that only police should have guns?

I count eleven shots aimed at her head. Apparently firing at tires are no longer sufficient to subdue a cornered (unarmed) subject. Progress.

I see 9 shots to the head....Wow do you think she is dead ??? She was probably had pulled her over 357 times in the last 10 years .. And never for doing anything wrong at all...Probably just going for ice cream, a coffee, or out to the movies...going the speed limit...or a few mile an hour below the speed limit...because she had been pulled over so many times ...Oh well life sucks and then you die... Do you think this trooper is trigger happy ???

that's our justice system for you.that was murder the way I see it lock up that state trooper for life.they could have found other ways to stop her vehicle shame on you for causing such a tragedy that was completely avoidable.

So I take it from various comments that being tough on crime is not popular anymore? The police caused the tragedy, habitual offender, no drivers license, failing to stop for an officer and an armed officer at that. Yup that really smacks of the police being to blame.

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