Use of Deadly Force by Police in N.H. Shootout Justified: Report

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
October 6, 2018US News

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office ruled on Oct. 4, 2018, that the use of deadly force by the police officers in Douglas Heath’s death was justified.

According to an Oct. 4 report (pdf) released by the Office of Attorney General, 38-year-old Douglas Heath was spotted on Aug. 20, driving an SUV similar to the one he drove two days earlier while fled a traffic stop in Rochester. When the police chased and tried to arrest him, he again sped away but stopped after crashing at the corner of an intersection.

Heath left the SUV through the front passenger-side door after the crash, with a loaded semiautomatic pistol in his left hand. He fired three shots, two of them in the direction of police officers on the scene.

Two state troopers, Haden Wilber and Nathaniel Goodwin, and two police officers, Michael Lambert and Geoff Moore, fired off 30 shots at Heath after he fired the third shot. He died during the exchange of gunfire.

No one else was hurt in the incident. The police recovered a gun near Heath’s body after the shootout.

The incident was recorded on videos by police camera and several citizens.

In the video released by the authorities, Heath can be seen firing while the officers shout “drop your gun! drop it!” loudly and repeatedly.

Witness Austin McKenzie—who recorded the fatal confrontation with his cellphone—said that Heath fired at officers first, WBTS-LD reported.

“The guy rolled out of the car wielding a handgun and started firing off a couple of shots,” McKenzie said, ”He was endangering lives of police officers.”

Heath was wanted on multiple warrants—including fleeing from Maine State Police and trafficking narcotics—according to the authorities.

Four officers were placed on leave following the deadly shootout after the Attorney General’s Office began to investigate the incident.

The Attorney General’s Office held a press briefing on Oct. 4, and announced the conclusion of the investigation while releasing the investigation report.

The report says that Heath “was actively using deadly force despite directives and opportunity to stop” and the situation required an immediate response from the officers to “eliminate the active and ongoing threat to their lives and the lives of many other people in the area.”

The four officers “were legally justified in using deadly force against Douglas Heath, and no criminal charges will be filed against any of them as a result of Mr. Heath’s death,” the Attorney General’s Office concluded in the investigation report.

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