Police: Attempted murder suspect fired gun in drug-related dispute

  • Michael Ames, 35, Concord —Courtesy

  • Christopher Becker, 32, of Concord —Courtesy

  • Karen Tefft, 32, of Concord —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 8/13/2019 11:48:51 AM

An 11-day manhunt ended late Monday when local and federal law enforcement officers arrested a Concord man accused of shooting at and pistol-whipping a woman at a transitional housing unit in the city.

Michael Ames, 35, was taken into custody as he was leaving a residence on Thorndike Street, Concord police Lt. Sean Ford said. Ames was considered “heavily armed and dangerous” and had been on the run since the Aug. 1 incident at 5 Market Lane, which authorities say was drug-related. The victim suffered minor injuries in the assault but was not injured by gunfire, which narrowly missed her, police said.

Several children and their family members were asleep inside the building at the time. However, no residents in nearby apartments were injured, Ford said.

Last week, police officers briefly shut down the Holiday Inn after receiving word that Ames was staying at the hotel on North Main Street. They were unable to locate Ames after evacuating guests from the second floor of the hotel and searching several rooms.

Police had asked members of the public to be on the lookout for Ames, who was one of several people to flee the Market Lane apartment building after the shooting. When he was apprehended Monday night, authorities found a loaded pistol in his possession, in addition to two magazines containing 17 more rounds, according to police.

The U.S. Marshals who confronted Ames outside the residence at 39 Thorndike St. told him several times to stop, but he disregarded their commands and attempted to flee. One marshal was able to take Ames into custody after a brief struggle during which he suffered an arm injury that required treatment at Concord Hospital.

Ames was held overnight at the county jail and was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Merrimack County Superior Court on one count each of attempted murder, robbery, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon and simple assault. He also faces two counts each of armed robbery and second-degree assault in connection with the shooting on Aug. 1.

Police have also filed additional charges against Ames of resisting arrest and being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, both stemming from the incident Monday night. Adams was previously convicted in Merrimack County Superior Court in February 2014 of felony robbery and is prohibited from carrying a firearm.

The shooting remains under investigation, and police said Tuesday that more weapons and drug charges are expected.

Aug. 1 shooting

Concord police responded to Families in Transition at 5 Market Lane on Aug. 1 at about 5:38 a.m. for a report of a woman who said she was assaulted with a firearm and robbed, according to a police affidavit prepared by Detective Paul Shaughnessy III. 

The woman told police she and her boyfriend had gone to the apartment intending to sell 2.5 grams of heroin, but when she arrived there she encountered several people unknown to her, the affidavit says. When she was weighing the heroin on a scale, a man identified as “Nick” grabbed the drug and stole her wallet, she said. He then demanded that she hand over her purse, too.

The man then went into another room and soon reappeared holding two guns, police said. The woman still refused at that time to hand over her purse, and that’s when the man fired, she told police. She said she doubted the authenticity of the gun until she felt something travel by her left ear and then smelled smoke.

The woman reported that she quickly fell to the floor where “Nick” assaulted her, still holding the gun in his hand. She said she lost consciousness for a brief time. 

Smoke from the gunshot ultimately triggered the fire alarm, and everyone in the apartment fled, the affidavit says.

Through witness interviews and tips from the public, police said they positively identified “Nick” as Ames and issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the shooting.

Police said a search of his social media accounts leads them to believe Ames is affiliated with gang activity.

Unrelated arrests

On Thorndike Street late Monday, police also arrested two people wanted on outstanding warrants who are known to Ames. 

Christopher Becker, 32, of Concord faces a felony charge of possession of controlled drugs and was taken into custody on a warrant for failing to appear in Merrimack County Superior Court in a drug sales case. Ford said police are looking into whether Becker may have pending warrants in other New Hampshire communities.

Karen Tefft, 32, of Concord was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court in a felony theft case. 

Both Becker and Tefft were held overnight.

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