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22-year-old awaiting bed at N.H. psychiatric hospital after officer-involved shooting in Concord

  • Dylan Stahley

Monitor staff
Published: 4/7/2020 5:17:18 PM
Modified: 4/7/2020 5:17:08 PM

An armed 22-year-old shot and wounded during a confrontation with police in Concord on Sunday is awaiting involuntary emergency admission to the state’s psychiatric hospital.

In the meantime, Dylan Stahley will remain at Concord Hospital under the watch of a law enforcement officer, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge John Kissinger Jr. ordered. Officials said during a court hearing Tuesday that they are hopeful a bed will become available at New Hampshire Hospital within the next 24 to 48 hours to allow for Stahley’s transfer. If not, the court will revisit options for Stahley during a follow-up hearing Thursday.

“I want to make sure from a community safety standpoint, and also from the standpoint of Mr. Stahley, that he is not going to be able to walk out of the hospital into downtown Concord,” Kissinger said.

If Stahley is not at the psychiatric hospital by then, Kissinger said he will likely order the defendant transferred to a county jail in recognition that Concord Hospital’s resources are already taxed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Stahley is being detained at this time, but bail will convert to personal recognizance once he is admitted under secure custody to New Hampshire Hospital.

As of Tuesday, doctors had medically cleared Stahley, who was admitted early Sunday morning after being shot by police near Concord’s White Park. Just before the shooting, police said Stahley was waiving around a handgun in his left hand and drinking from an alcoholic beverage in his right hand, according to a sworn affidavit filed in court Tuesday.

Concord police initially responded to a burglar alarm at the new skate house at White Park on Saturday at 11:19 p.m. Stahley is accused of throwing a large rock at a northeast facing window to gain entry, according to court documents.

While on scene there, officers received a report that a man – later identified as Stahley – was at the nearby ball field with a gun. Concord officers and New Hampshire State Police responded and ordered that Stahley put his weapon on the ground and his hands in the air, the affidavit says. However, authorities said Stahley refused to comply.

“Dylan pointed the handgun in all directions to include at multiple officers and homes located outside the park,” according to the affidavit. “Dylan pointed the handgun at Officers positioned on White Street. Dylan was shot by Police at this time.”

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office is now investigating the circumstances leading up to the officer-involved shooting. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has not named the law enforcement officer or officers involved, citing the ongoing investigation that includes a formal interview process.

Stahley, who has most recently resided in Concord and Hillsborough, was arrested Sunday and faces felony charges of burglary, reckless conduct and being a convicted felon in possession of a deadly weapon. He was convicted in Merrimack County Superior Court this past October of felony reckless conduct after he fired a handgun in his then-apartment on North Spring Street in Concord and accidentally shot himself in the foot, according to court documents.

Kissinger, who presided over the former reckless conduct case, said in court Tuesday that Stahley poses both a danger to the public and himself and is not eligible for release at this time.

By phone, Stahley participated in the court hearing as County Attorney Robin Davis and public defender Jeremy Clemans appeared before Kissinger in a Concord courtroom. Also joining the hearing remotely was Concord Hospital’s Risk Manager Lisah Carpenter and Dr. Kavitha Kittu, who has treated Stahley during his hospitalization.

Both Davis and Clemans expressed concern about Stahley’s ongoing medical needs as a result of his injuries and his mental health. Davis said Stahley suffers from a history of mental illness and he was intoxicated when police encountered him on the ball field early Sunday morning.

Kissinger agreed that meeting Stahley’s medical needs is critical. However, he wanted to make sure appropriate security arrangements could be made while also not overburdening Concord Hospital, which has made significant changes in recent weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Right now the patient has a law enforcement officer with him. If he is moved to personal recognizance then we would lose that,” Carpenter told Kissinger by phone. “I do have concerns about how we would manage this particular patient.”

Kissinger assured Carpenter that under no circumstances would he order Stahley’s continued stay at Concord Hospital unless he could assure the continued presence of a law enforcement officer.

“Thank you,” Carpenter said. “I think we’re okay for a day or two. I wouldn’t want to see it go out much past Thursday.”

During a short break in the hearing, Davis spoke with Merrimack County jail Superintendent Ross Cunningham who said he would assign a corrections officer that afternoon to Stahley at Concord Hospital. An officer will remain with Stahley 24/7 until his transfer to New Hampshire Hospital by Thursday or potentially a county jail.

Stahley was on probation at the time of his arrest Sunday. His criminal record dates back to 2016 and includes convictions for assault and driving while intoxicated.

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