MANCHESTER, NH – Courtroom 202 at the 9th Circuit District Division Courthouse was packed Monday morning with police officers who came for the arraignment of the man accused of shooting fellow Officers Matthew O’Connor and Ryan Hardy on May 13.
But the session was cut short when a motion to waive the arraignment of Ian MacPherson, 32, was granted by Judge Gregory Michael, based on a request by MacPherson’s public defender, Sarah Rothman.
Michael ruled that MacPherson would be held without bail on the two felony attempted capital murder charges until a probable cause hearing on May 27 at 11 a.m. He was also held on an additional $100,000 cash bail for the misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
Court documents unsealed on Monday reveal MacPherson used a gun he purchased legally on April 1 after the 14-day background check. Russell MacPherson has said that his son has been suffering with mental illness issues for years.
MacPherson was arrested and charged on Friday following the shootings, which left Hardy with gunshot wounds on his face, neck and torso, and O’Connor with a bullet wound to the leg.
After the courtroom emptied, MacPherson’s family was escorted to the third-floor of the courthouse while Hardy and O’Connor took an elevator down to street level. A short time later Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard briefly spoke to the press, reiterating his call for privacy for his officers and their families.
“The families are going through a lot of emotions. Their husbands go off to work and then they get that dreaded phone call, that their officer has been shot. I ask that you respect their privacy,” Willard said.
He said the probable cause affidavit was going to be unsealed (see below), which would provide more details of the shooting, and the aftermath.
Willard spoke about the “connectivity” between his officers and the community that has resulted from the shooting.
“The beauty of it is that the community comes together as well,” Willard said. “The outpouring of support is just amazing. It’s just one of those things you wish you could just capture, bottle it, and keep it forever because, before you know it, that appreciation for law enforcement will wane, it will dissipate and, unfortunately, another tragedy has to happen for us to feel it again.”
After Willard spoke, MacPherson’s family assembled outside the courtroom. Russell MacPherson made a brief statement about his son.
“We were here today to support Ian. He’s been suffering from mental illness issues for a long, long time. Hopefully he’s going to get help with that. We’re going to be there for him,” MacPherson’s father said.
According to the unsealed affidavit, Officer Ryan Hardy attempted to question MacPherson, who matched the description of a robber who held-up the Eddy Road Shell gas station on May 12. At 2:03 a.m. Hardy’s voice came across the police radio, “Shots fired, shots fired. I’ve been shot.” Hardy continued to broadcast a description of his assailant and his direction of foot travel.
Residents in the area of Ferry Street were alerted to the incident from the sound of gunfire and alerted police to MacPherson’s location, which was Walsh Avenue and Rimmon Street. Officer O’Connor, accompanied by members of NH State Police, had located MacPherson on Rimmon Street. He was about 30 yards away when he requested that MacPherson put his hands up, to which MacPherson responded with words to the effect of, “I’m the guy you are looking for.”
Then MacPherson pointed a handgun at O’Connor and opened fire, hitting O’Connor in the leg. MacPherson fled into the woods.
Police continued to search the dense woods for MacPherson until he was again located, this time in the area of 467 Bartlett St. at approximately 5 a.m. MacPherson was ordered to stop by a pair of officers, but continued moving quickly in the other direction, away from the officers until finally MacPherson was ordered to put his hands up and drop to his knees, which he did, and he was taken into custody without further incident.
A search of the area produced a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson gun; a semi-automatic firearm; black ski mask; and wallet. A dark-colored coat was found stashed underneath a porch on Valley West Way, and a handgun magazine was recovered by investigators from inside a storm drain.
Police investigated further and discovered that the Smith and Wesson was purchased by MacPherson on April 1 from Chester Arms in Derry for $349, along with two magazines and a box of 50 rounds of ammunition. MacPherson first entered the store on March 19 to make the purchases and returned April 1 after he passed the required 14-day background verification process. Police said MacPherson used an old Nashua address to make the purchase.
Fifteen casings matching the Magtech .40 caliber ammo purchased by MacPherson in April were recovered from the scene of the first shooting, police said. The scene of the second shooting had not yet been searched by the time the affidavit was filed.
Manchester Police Detectives continue investigate the shooting incident. Detectives have canvassed neighborhoods and have spoken to multiple eyewitnesses over the past three days. However, detectives would like to hear from citizens who may have seen or heard any of the events leading up to, during or after the arrest of the defendant. If you have not spoken to a detective and can offer additional information, please contact Detective Lucas Hobbs at 603-792-5519.