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Officers involved in shooting death of Gilford teen back on duty after internal investigation

photo showing Major Crimes Unit vehicle parked in front of home
Jon Decker
The Laconia Daily Sun
A mobile crime lab from the state's major crimes unit parked in front of a home on Varney Point Road Left in Gilford, where a fatal shooting occurred on the evening of Jan. 1.

This story was originally produced by the Laconia Daily Sun. NHPR is republishing it in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative.

Sgt. Douglas Wall and Officer Nathan Ayotte, the two officers involved in the shooting death of 17-year-old Mischa Fay, have been back at work since February following the conclusion of an internal investigation, according to Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office is still investigating the shooting.

Wall and Ayotte were called to the Fay residence on Varney Point Road on the evening of Jan. 1, following reports Fay was armed with a knife. Shortly after arrival, Ayotte fired his taser. Fay was then fatally shot by Wall with a pistol.

“We've done our own investigation and found there was no wrongdoing,” Dunn said. “In the absence of evidence from the Attorney General’s Office, [Wall and Ayotte were] put back to work.”

Wall has also returned to his role of spearheading the Citizens Police Academy.

Earlier coverage from NHPR: Police shot Gilford teen allegedly armed with a knife within two minutes of arriving, call logs show

On Feb. 3, one month and two days after the shooting, the Gilford Selectboard unanimously approved a motion to “authorize the two officers to return to active duty upon satisfactory completion of all police department protocols as determined by the police chief,” according to minutes from the session.

At the February meeting, during which the selectboard voted to return the officers to duty, “it was noted the NH Attorney General’s Office had not yet finished their investigation, however they informed the police chief they had no objection to the officers returning to active duty upon the satisfactory completion of a Gilford Police Department internal investigation to determine if any local policies were violated,” according to the minutes.

During a non-public session, the board reviewed body camera footage from the incident before voting.

According to the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, individual departments can choose to let their officers return to duty if they are comfortable, even while those officers are under state investigation. Smaller departments may choose this route more often due to fewer resources, while larger departments have extra personnel that can cover the gaps left by officers on leave.

“[Chief Kris Kelly and Capt. Dustin Parent] looked at circumstances, reviewed the body-worn cameras and concluded the officers did not violate any town policies or procedures,” Dunn said.

Dunn did not want to describe the department’s inquiry into the incident as an investigation. When asked what he would call it, Dunn simply said, “I would call it the police chief doing his job.”

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed Thursday they are still investigating Fay’s death. There is still not an estimated date of completion for their investigation.

Read more from NHPR: NH has spent years trying to prevent police from killing people in mental distress, but advocates say gaps remain

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information

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