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Alleged domestic assault leads to manhunt, two arrests

  • New Hampshire state troopers locate a pump shotgun at an old train bridge.

    New Hampshire state troopers locate a pump shotgun at an old train bridge.

  • Stuart McKenzie

    Stuart McKenzie

  • Danny McKenzie

    Danny McKenzie

  • New Hampshire state troopers locate a pump shotgun at an old train bridge.
  • Stuart McKenzie
  • Danny McKenzie

State and local police, responding to a report of domestic assault Friday night in Salisbury, arrested a father and his son after both men allegedly attacked their girlfriends in separate incidents at the same residence, a state police spokeswoman said yesterday.

Stuart McKenzie, 26, of Salisbury initially fled into nearby woods before the police arrived, setting off a manhunt that included a state police helicopter, a state police statement said.

Witnesses reported hearing five shots in the area where McKenzie entered the woods, but no one was harmed, according to the statement.

McKenzie was arrested without incident after emerging from the woods. While that search was being conducted, Stuart McKenzie’s father, 55-year-old Danny McKenzie, was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend, state police spokeswoman Nicole Armaganian said.

“There were two women inside the house; I don’t have their names,” Armaganian said. “We believe the other (assault) happened inside the house while (Stuart McKenzie) was in the woods.”

Neither woman needed medical attention, Armaganian said.

According to the state police statement and Armaganian, events unfolded this way:

At about 4:45 p.m. Friday, troopers from Troop D were called to 56 Scribner Road in Salisbury for a report of a domestic assault. At least 14 troopers were eventually involved, as well as officers from the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department and police from Webster, Franklin, Sutton and Warner.

At the scene, troopers learned that Stuart McKenzie had fled on foot into the woods armed with a shotgun and box of shells, and that witnesses reported hearing shots fired in the area.

After organizing down the road from the home, troopers drove to the house and entered; inside, they found the two women safe.

After checking outbuildings, several officers remained at the home, while others formed a perimeter in an effort to contain Stuart McKenzie.

“The area where McKenzie was reported to be hiding is very large and bordered by many miles of road,” the statement said. “Each of the roads and intersections needed to be closely watched.”

Troopers were told McKenzie was an experienced outdoorsman who knew the area well. Troopers went door to door, warning residents and checking outbuildings. Officers also found fresh bootprints in the snow.

A state police helicopter equipped with an infrared camera flew over the scene, and troopers on the perimeter were equipped with night vision goggles.

“On several occasions, troopers in the helicopter located McKenzie,” the statement said. “However, the terrain and pine trees allowed McKenzie to conceal himself.”

The troopers at the house learned that McKenzie was in contact with others by cell phone, and state police communications specialists began working to track his location. While doing this, the police realized that McKenzie believed the troopers aloft were aware of his location.

“A short time later McKenzie emerged from the woods and approached 56 Scribner Road,” the statement said, “where he was arrested without incident.”

McKenzie was transported to the Franklin police station for processing. He was charged with three counts of simple assault, felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition.

He was also wanted on an electronic bench warrant and is being held at the Merrimack County jail. Armaganian had no information about any past crimes committed by McKenzie. He will be arraigned on the remaining charges Feb. 11 in Franklin’s district court.

McKenzie did not have a gun with him when arrested, the statement said.

“Not far from Scribner Road, troopers located five spent shotgun shells,” the statement said. “Troopers continued on through the woods another half mile and located the box, which was found to contain several shotgun shells, hidden under a stump. Further on troopers located a pump shotgun that was tucked into a crack between the stones of an old train bridge.”

The state police statement said that Danny McKenzie resisted their efforts to arrest him for the separate domestic assault. He was charged with simple assault, criminal threatening and resisting arrest. After being booked, the statement said, he was released on bail to appear in Franklin’s district court Feb. 11.

The police, as well as a Salisbury fire and rescue crew, left the scene about 11 p.m.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler @cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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