New Hampshire Hospital suspect had a history of mental illness
Published: 11-21-2023 4:01 PM
Modified: 11-21-2023 6:56 PM
Friday afternoon was not John Madore’s first visit to the New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s secure psychiatric facility in Concord.
He was admitted to the 185-bed hospital on Clinton Street in January 2016 because police and his family believed he posed a danger to himself or others, following charges that he assaulted his mother and sister at their Strafford home, according to court records.
Throughout his adult life, Madore, 33, struggled with mental health issues, which included armed encounters with police, according to court records.
Madore’s last run-in with law enforcement was on Friday at New Hampshire Hospital’s lobby around 3:40 p.m. Armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, he fatally shot security officer and former Franklin police chief Bradley Haas. Madore was then shot and killed by a state trooper.
Police discovered a U-Haul van running in the hospital parking lot, containing an AR-15-style weapon, a tactical vest, and ammunition.
Recognizing an increase in violence against healthcare workers, the New Hampshire legislature passed legislation last year that established a commission aimed at improving workplace violence prevention in healthcare settings statewide. The commission focuses on activities such as data collection, risk assessments, sharing best practices, and annual reporting to enhance safety for healthcare workers.
Developing and implementing healthcare workplace violence prevention programs is also the charge of the commission.
“Unfortunately, violent acts against health care workers in hospitals and health systems continue to increase in number and severity,” said Kathy Bizarro-Thunberg, executive vice president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association in an email statement. “All hospitals and health systems train their employees for many types of events (often referred to as “all-hazards”), including active shooter situations. Safety officers, emergency management coordinators and senior executives routinely evaluate top safety concerns, determine mitigation efforts, train on responses and support the education of all employees.”
Court records show Madore’s encounters with the police date back to 2014 when he was charged with speeding, carrying a firearm without a license and resisting arrest in New London as a 23-year-old.
He pleaded guilty to speeding and resisting arrest, which resulted in a $620 fine.
But it didn’t stop there. Two years later, on January 8, 2016, Madore assaulted his mother Theresa Madore and his sister at their Strafford residence after he became upset over putting down their dog.
Chief Scott Young of the Strafford Police Department documented the incident in an affidavit stating that Madore’s mother was “grabbed around the neck and knocked to the floor” and his sister was “choked to the point of not being able to breathe”.
When police arrived, Madore barricaded himself in an upstairs bedroom with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol and a rifle next to him, warning officers that he had firearms and “this was not going to end well.”
Due to the perceived threat, the police called for a SWAT team, but Madore surrendered peacefully.
Madore faced charges of second-degree assault, simple assault, and reckless conduct. He spent almost 20 days in Strafford County jail before being transferred to a community corrections program, which includes supervised release for defendants dealing with a mental illness.
Under bail conditions, Madore was prohibited from contacting his mother and sister and received a mental health referral.
After his release, Madore transferred from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover to New Hampshire Hospital around Jan. 31, 2016. He was discharged on Feb 18, 2016. The charges were later dropped for competency reasons.
In the following months, Madore’s mental health deteriorated.
In May 2016, officers responded twice to the Stafford residence concerning Madore’s mental health.
On May 17, police responded to him attempting to cut and hang himself. Once Madore learned the police ambulance was coming, he fled, his mother said.
Officers put out a “be on the lookout” notice but had no success finding him.
Two days later, again police were dispatched to the same address for Madore being out of control. After searching the woods around the house, police found Madore with a rope around his neck.
Madore said his feet hurt from being barefoot and hiding from the police and that he had spent the entire night outdoors.
Later, he was transported to Rochester Hospital and held on an Involuntary Emergency Admission.
In the summer of 2019, Madore showed signs of recovery when he joined Riverbend Community Mental Health as a peer support specialist. But he worked there only for about a month, as confirmed by a spokesperson for the behavioral health center.
Susan Stearns, executive director of NAMI NH, said restrictive orders like a Red Flag law, which would remove weapons from someone in a mental health crisis, could help save lives.
“It continues to be our position that we support extreme risk protective orders and it is a critical tool, not only to avoid horrific situations like this, but also to prevent suicides,” said Stearns. “I understand that it is a hotly debated issue. I also believe that we can do hard things to take care of each other in this state.”
Stearns cautioned against treating everyone with a mental health issue as a threat. She said the state needs to foster its community-based services and make sure they are accessible and available in a timely manner.
“The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent,” Stearns said. “People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators.”