Bail hearing in convoluted court case: Gunshots, wounded man, fisticuffs, hair-pulling, car into building

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Cutis Massey at a bail hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District on April 30, 2021.

MANCHESTER, NH – Curtis Massey, shot three times in a melee overnight Tuesday on North Commercial Street, maintains he was acting in self-defense and/or protecting someone when he drove his car into five men who were fighting.

Massey, 23, of 312 Spruce St., made that argument Friday during a bail hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District. He is charged with three counts of reckless conduct and one count of filing a false accident report.

Judge Diane Nicolosi, however, thought otherwise and ordered him held in preventive detention.  

“It pisses me off that I’m locked up and I was shot,” Massey said which prompted the judge to order him removed from the Valley Street jail video room which allowed him to participate in the hearing.

During a break in the hearing, it was apparent Massey had discomfort, presumably from his wounds.  He groaned at times and lifted his shirt to reveal a bandaged left side.  The upper part of his right arm was bandaged as well. 

The judge, in ordering his continued detention, said information contained in a police affidavit “cuts strongly against a defense of self or other” claim.

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Curtis Massey shows the court his bandaged arm during a bail hearing April 30, 2021.

She said Massey was in his car, left the scene but then returned.  And when police arrived after being called about a man being shot, instead of telling them someone was in danger, she said he lied.

Massey told police that someone rear-ended him when he was stopped at a light on Canal Street and then shot him.  He said he was able to make a U-turn and drive over to where his uncle lives.

Police, however, were able to identify the crime scene when they canvassed the area and found his car’s bumper behind 540 North Commercial St., a building owned by DEKA Research.  They also found eight .45m bullet casings there. 

According to court records, police obtained two minutes of video from DEKA’s security surveillance.  It shows 11 vehicles parked along the west parking spaces running along the Merrimack River.  About 20 people are surrounding the Versa  – Massey is in the driver’s seat — and there appears to be a confrontation on the side of the car between two men. 

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Shannon Blankenbeker said it is unknown if the confrontation involved Massey or what it was about.

The Versa is recorded pulling out of the parking space, heading south in the lot.  As the car turns, a man kicks the passenger’s side of the car.  

But then the recording shows Massey’s car returning to the scene 20 seconds later and: 

  • Massey, driving at a high rate of speed, swerving his car towards three men and a woman, with the men diving out of the way;
  • the same three men then fighting each other;
  • two other men joining in the melee;
  • Massey, this time at a slow speed, again driving towards the men, hitting four of the five, with one landing on the hood of his car;
  • a man and woman reaching through the passenger window of Massey’s car, which had the interior lights on, pulling his hair;
  • Massey putting the car in reverse as a Jeep also backs up, resulting in the man and woman being pinned between the two vehicles before falling to the ground;
  • a gunman firing at Massey’s car.

At that point in the video, both the gunman and the car are out of view of the camera but police believe that is when the Versa, which still was in reverse, hits the side of 540 N. Commercial St.  Both the gunman and the car then reappear on the video, with the gunman running west through the parking lot and the bumperless Versa heading south at a high rate of speed. 

Police learned of the incident when they were called at 12:41 a.m. Wednesday for a report of a man being shot in the area of 445 Canal St.

Officers found Massey in the driver’s seat of the Versa, parked in the Mechanic Street South back alleyway, suffering from gunshot wounds to his left forearm, his left abdomen and left buttocks.  Officer Eric Slocum took Massey out of the car, laid him on his back on the pavement and assessed injuries, using pressure bandages to control the bleeding.

An ambulance arrived and Massey was taken to the hospital for treatment.

According to Slocum’s affidavit, the driver-side door had damage consistent with “projectiles” (bullets) strikes.  The rear bumper, however, was missing.  Police also recovered a large clump of hair inside the car.

Blankenbeker, in asking that Massey be held without bail, said he was currently out on bail on charges of second-degree assault with bodily injury and simple assault.

Defense attorney Tom Stonitsch asked the judge to set personal recognizance bail with an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and an order that Massey stay away from Canal Street.

He said it is unclear who the initial aggressor was in this case and in New Hampshire people have a right to use reasonable self-defense.  He said there were two groups of people fighting and that Massey was attacked and shot at eight times from behind while trying to get away.

He said the incident lasted less than 30 seconds. He also argued had Massey been the aggressor then those at the scene would have called 911. 

Nicolosi set an evidentiary hearing for May 14 at 1 p.m. She said the prosecution should make an effort to get full video of the incident from DEKA.


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.