‘I knew the second I raised my BB gun you guys were going to shoot me, that’s why I did it’

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Judge William Delker listens to Public Defender Jordan Brand and Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Matt Cessna in a bench conference during a bail hearing for Waleed L Thuwayni, 18, of Manchester./Pat Grossmith

MANCHESTER, NH – A Manchester police lieutenant fired six shots at Waleed Al Thuwayni, wounding him twice, after the teen pointed a BB gun at him, according to court documents.

“No don’t save me,” Al Thuwayni told officers while handcuffed, wounded and on the ground.  “That was a BB gun.  I knew you guys were going to shoot me. I knew the second I raised my BB gun you guys were going to shoot me, that’s why I did it.”

Al Thuwayni was shot in the abdomen and the left upper arm.  He was taken by ambulance to the Elliot Hospital where he underwent surgery and remains hospitalized.

During the police chase, dispatch advised patrol units that Al Thuwayni carries a BB gun that appears real inside his vehicle.

Sgt. Derek Feather, who was president of the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association, is identified as the officer who shot Al Thuwayni.  Feather has been with the department for about 15 years.

Al Thuwayni is charged with reckless conduct, criminal threatening with a deadly weapon and disobeying a police officer.  His arrest came after police said he was ticketed at 11:07 p.m. Sunday after driving recklessly around the city, in a 2004 black Nissan 350Z convertible, reaching speeds of 60 mph.  The car’s New Hampshire license plate reads LAMAFIA.

He was given a court date of  May 2, 2023, in 9th Circuit District Division Manchester.

According to the affidavit of Officer Amanda Smith, he later stopped at the police station and argued about the ticket.  After he left, police began receiving 911 calls at 11:30 p.m. about a car driving recklessly near Elm and Valley streets.  The car, with NH license plates LAMAFIA, was reportedly doing burnouts.

Officer Jeffrey Hennessy was on South Willow Street, near UHAUL, when he saw the car driving in the opposite direction, swerving between two vehicles.  Hennessy, his blue lights activated, made a U-turn and the driver of the Nissan gave him the finger. Once behind the car, Hennessy heard the engine rev and saw it increase its speed. The car sped through red lights and reached speeds up to 90 mph. 

Ultimately, police cancelled the pursuit due to the high speeds reached on Pine Street, near Auburn Street.

Shortly after, Feather located the car in the area of the JFK Memorial Coliseum, 303 Beech St.  Then he reported shots fired.  

Officer Brian Fabian, who rendered medical aid to Al Thuwayni, rode in the ambulance with him.  Fabian turned off his body camera.

In the ambulance, Al Thuwayni was alert and talking with paramedics.  He was shouting and complaining about the pain, but made several “alarming statements” to paramedics, according to Smith.

“Why didn’t he shoot me in the head?” he asked.  “I raised the BB gun because I knew he was gonna shoot me.”

In the trauma room at the Elliot Hospital, he began shouting, “I’m coming for your whole generation” and “I have people that will come find you.”  He called officers and medical personnel in the room “pussies.” 

Al Thuwayni had mood swings, going from angry to upset, and at one point said he wished police had killed him.  “Your job is to put people in graves,” he said.  “I know your policy, chest and head is the protocol.”  He also said he pulled out the BB gun because “I knew they would think it’s a real gun.”

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Matt Cessna, in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District on Tuesday, asked that Al Thuwayni be placed in preventative detention arguing he was a danger to himself and the public.

He noted the “alarming statements” Al Thuwayni made in the ambulance and at the hospital and his doing burnouts “clearly trying to get the attention of the MPD.”  Once police stopped him, Cessna said Al Thuwayni pointed the BB gun at the officer.

Cessna said he didn’t believe it was “even a close call” that Al Thuwayni should be detained without bail even though he has no criminal record.

Judge N. William Delker asked if Al Thuwayni had a juvenile criminal record and Public Defender Jordan Brand asked to approach the bench.

According to court documents, when he was given the ticket for driving recklessly, Officer Dominic Sardo asked Al Thuwayni if he had ever been in trouble with Manchester police.  Al Thuwayni said he had received a speeding ticket when he owned a Mercury Grand Marquis.   Sardo then recognized him from “past reckless operation incidents as well as officer safety emails regarding him and the possession of firearms.”  He was removed from the vehicle and patted down, but no weapons were found on him.

There was no further mention in court of any juvenile record.

Brand argued that jailing someone as young as Al Thuwayni, even for a day, had long, detrimental effects.  

She asked that Al Thuwayni be released on personal recognizance bail with conditions.  She said those would include: no driving; be under house arrest living with his parents and brother on the West Side; no access to firearms or a BB gun; no access to any keys to operate a motor vehicle; and with regular review hearings scheduled by the court.

Brand said he suffered two gunshot wounds and should be at home recovering. 

The officer, she said, “fired six shots on information he might be in possession of a BB gun.  That is unacceptable.  He should be released to be home with his family.”

She said if there is a mental health issue, the last place he should be is the Valley Street jail where there is no mental health treatment.

Al Thuwayni is a 2022 graduate of Manchester West High School and has taken tech classes.   

His parents and brother attended the hearing; Al Thuwayni listened in on the telephone but made no comment.

Family members declined to comment.

Delker ordered Al Thuwayni to be evaluated for an Involuntary Emergency Admission to the New Hampshire State Hospital.  He ordered him held in preventative detention saying he had “really grave concerns” if he would follow court orders, given he didn’t follow police orders to stop.  He said bail would be converted to personal recognizance, were he committed to the state hospital.

He said whether Al Thuwayni is committed or not, there will be hearings:  one prior to his being released from the state hospital, if committed there, and the other, a bail review hearing.


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.