N.H. police shooting caught on video: Footage of Hopkinton incident released

  • A screen grab of the video of the police shooting from May 19, 2017 on I-89 in Hopkinton. Courtesy—New Hampshire AG office

  • A screen grab of the video of the police shooting from May 19, 2017 on I-89 in Hopkinton. Courtesy—New Hampshire AG office

  • A screen grab of the video of the police shooting from May 19, 2017 on I-89 in Hopkinton. Courtesy—New Hampshire AG office

  • A screen grab of the video of the police shooting from May 19, 2017 on I-89 in Hopkinton. Courtesy—New Hampshire AG office

  • A screen grab of the video of the police shooting from May 19, 2017 on I-89 in Hopkinton. Courtesy—New Hampshire AG office

Monitor staff
Published: 7/25/2017 6:30:00 PM

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office released video and audio records Tuesday related to a police-involved shooting on Interstate 89 in Hopkinton that resulted in an unarmed Vermont man being taken to the hospital.

Among the materials disclosed are 11 video clips and 31 still photographs taken from private citizens’ cellphones, as well as audio from the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office dispatch log surrounding the May 19 event. Portions of the audio from the videos are redacted, as they related to private conversation being held by people in the vehicle, according to the attorney general’s office. Approximately six photographs have been withheld as well, as they depict private citizens, the office said.

In one of the clips, Bryan Evans, 31, of Quechee, Vt., who was charged with receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of a propelled vehicle, criminal threatening and disobeying an officer, can be seen talking to police and leaning against a 2017 Toyota Camry.

The video appears to have been shot from inside a civilian’s vehicle, parked immediately behind police officers and a cruiser. In some parts of the video, a woman and a man’s conversation can be heard.

At the 2:06 mark, the video shows Evans, who appeared to have been hiding one of his hands inside his shirt, pulling it out quickly. According to the attorney general’s office, Evans held his hands in the shape of a gun.

Immediately after Evans moves his hands, police open fire. The crack of the gunshots apparently causes the woman heard on the video to gasp, and Evans dips out of frame.

“Oh my God,” a woman says.

“He just shot –” more gunshots rings out, “– they’re shooting him,” a man says.

The attorney general’s office determined in May that Evans’s actions put two New Hampshire state troopers, Michael Arteaga and Daniel Livingstone, in fear of their lives, prompting them to shoot. According to a preliminary report, Arteaga spotted Evans driving a vehicle that was reported stolen out of Vermont. Evans didn’t initially stop for Arteaga and other officers following him, but he finally pulled over in the southbound breakdown lane near Exit 6, according to reports.

“Instead, Evans quickly pulled his hand out of his jacket and pointed his hands in a two-handed, gun style fashion at the officers,” the AG’s report says. “These actions on the part of Evans led officers to reasonably believe that he had a gun pointed at them, and therefore prompted three officers to fire or attempt to fire their weapons at him.”

The reports said New London police Officer James MacKenna fired one shot from a rifle and missed, while Trooper Livingstone attempted to shoot at Evans but his handgun “malfunctioned and did not fire.” Arteaga fired two shots from his handgun at Evans and hit him in the left leg, according to the AG’s report.

To support the criminal threatening charges against Evans, police said Arteaga and Livingstone were “in fear of imminent bodily injury” because of his hand gestures, according to court documents, even though he was not armed.

Evans is accused of telling Livingstone, a K-9 officer, that “if you release the dog you’re a dead man,” or words similar to that effect, according to court documents. Police said he then pulled his hand out and pointed it in the shape of a gun at the officers.

In the same clip in which Evans is seen getting shot, the woman and the man filming can be heard anxiously discussing the scene prior to the shooting. The woman expresses fears about their proximity to the scene and says she does not want to see Evans get shot.

“If he goes to shoot it could go right through the camper,” the woman says.

“I’ll duck,” a man replies.

After shots ring out, the people filming are noticeably confused about whether police were shot or if Evans, who was found to be unarmed, had shot at all. The video ends when Evans’s vehicle pulls over to the side of the road and police vehicles surround it.

The encounter was not captured by police video. New Hampshire State Police do not have body cameras, and the cruisers they were driving did not have cameras, officials said. The other officers who responded and were equipped with either body cameras or cruiser cameras didn’t have them activated at the time of the shooting, according to the AG’s report.

The audio from Merrimack County’s dispatching service, some of which is redacted, features phone calls and conversations between police and dispatchers. The audio reveals that police were considering laying down spikes in an attempt to slow Evans down, as well as the time when the shooting was first referred to as being police-involved at 7:52 p.m. (the 12-minute mark in the audio) when dispatch is communicating with Hartford, Vt., police.

“Did he have a gun?” the dispatcher from Hartford says. “I asked his mother if he had weapons.”

“I’m not sure,” the dispatcher replies.

From about 8:15 p.m. till 11:30 p.m. (about 15 minutes into the audio until the end), most of the calls are from civilians waiting in traffic while police were on the scene. Traffic was backed up on I-89 for several hours, and dispatchers can frequently be heard telling motorists that they are unsure of when the roads will be cleared.

“I’ve been here (on I-89) for about an hour, and we’re seeing the news come in on our phones,” one woman states in the audio. She then asks how long they should expect to be there, and mentions she has children in the car with her.

The dispatcher then tells the woman that, while there is no active threat at the time, there is no time frame for when they’ll be moving.

“You have to wait it out,” she states. “It’s an active crime scene, you can’t just open it up.”

Evans is also facing charges of burglary and larceny in Vermont related to the incident. He is accused of breaking a window at his mother’s home on Murphy Road in Quechee, Vt., grabbing her keys and stealing the car, according to court records from Windsor County.

Evans’s mother told police her son was a heroin addict and was “trying to get himself right,” according to the court records. On the day of the shooting, Evans had asked his mother to drive him down to Boston, but instead, she dropped him off at the Lebanon Police Department because she suspected he had started using again and wanted to drive down to Boston to buy drugs. Later that day, Evans stole his mother’s Camry and headed south on I-89, where he was spotted by Artega around 6:47 p.m., police said.

The Monitor filed a right-to-know request on May 24 asking for information related to the incident, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire filed an open records request. The video, audio and still photographs were not released at the time of the preliminary report because of the pending charges against Evans, according to the attorney general’s office press release. Evans and the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office were given the opportunity to seek a court order to prevent the release of the information and declined to do so, according to the press release.

No further information is expected to be released concerning the incident until the pending criminal charges against Evans are resolved, the press release said.

Evans is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 2, according to Merrimack County Superior Court documents.

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