MANCHESTER, NH – A lock-down at the Manchester VA Hospital Thursday morning lasted about 30 minutes, after a report of a distraught patient who may be armed.
Manchester VA police were contacted by a local media outlet regarding a voicemail indicating a potential threat against the Manchester VA Medical Center. The Manchester VA Police notified the Manchester Police Department, which dispatched officers to the medical center Thursday morning, according to VA hospital spokesperson Kristin Pressly.
Manchester Police quickly responded in force, surrounding the hospital perimeter with rifles drawn and K9s present. They told patients attempting to leave the parking lot to clear the area, and no vehicles were permitted into the lot between approximately 8:30 and 9 a.m.
German Sanchez, a VA patient, made the trip to the Manchester VA from Boscawen for four scheduled appointments Thursday, and was told he couldn’t enter the lot. He was relieved when he was able to get onto the campus for his 9 a.m. appointment a little behind schedule.
Mike Bedard of Warner, also a VA patient, said he had just finished with his appointment and was heading to his car when he was told he had to leave the premises, unable to get to his car.
He wished he’d been a little quicker getting out.
“I should have just gotten in my car and left,” Bedard said, standing with some Smyth Road neighbors, who were gathered on the corner watching the commotion.
Due to the threat, Manchester VAMC activated its internal safety plan and was able to identify the man, related to the phone threat, who was located on campus at about 9 a.m. Police officers dispersed, leaving behind a small group of officers just outside the entrance encircling a man with a cane, who appeared to be the focus of the situation.
The man was eventually taken from the scene without incident for evaluation at Elliot Hospital, and business as usual resumed at the VA.