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Police took Madore’s guns after 2016 assault and reckless conduct arrests

A 2016 bail order unsealed at the New Hampshire Bulletin’s request Wednesday shows that a judge prohibited John Madore from possessing guns following a 2016 arrest in which he allegedly threatened to shoot the police. His mental health was a concern too. Last Friday, Madore fatally shot a New Hampshire Hospital security officer, according to the authorities.
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A 2016 bail order unsealed at the New Hampshire Bulletin’s request Wednesday shows that a judge prohibited John Madore from possessing guns following a 2016 arrest in which he allegedly threatened to shoot the police. His mental health was a concern too. Last Friday, Madore fatally shot a New Hampshire Hospital security officer, according to the authorities.

This story was originally produced by the New Hampshire Bulletin, an independent local newsroom that allows NHPR and other outlets to republish its reporting.

Strafford Police confiscated guns from John Madore in 2016 following his arrest during a tense scene in his mother’s home, where he allegedly told the police, “I have firearms and this is not going to end well.”

They did so under Strafford County Superior Court bail orders that were unsealed Wednesday at the Bulletin’s request. Michael Garrity, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, confirmed after the bail orders were unsealed that the police had confiscated the weapons.

It remains unclear how Madore obtained the gun police say he used to kill New Hampshire Hospital security officer Bradley Haas on Nov. 17. The court ordered his competency be evaluated in the 2016 case, and he was admitted to the New Hampshire Hospital under an emergency admission. Guns purchased through a licensed dealer include a background check that asks about mental health hospitalizations.

Federal law prohibits a person who has been adjudicated as “mental defective” or has been committed to any mental institution from possessing a firearm. However, New Hampshire keeps mental health records confidential and therefore does not provide them to the national database used to perform background checks. 

The bail conditions in Madore’s 2016 case have raised important questions since last week’s fatal shooting at New Hampshire Hospital. Madore, whose residence was unknown, was shot and killed by a state trooper on duty.

Two Strafford County Superior Courtbail orders unsealed Wednesday at the Bulletin’s request show that Madore was forbidden from possessing any dangerous weapons. That would have included the 9-millimeter handgun, semi-automatic rifle, and ammunition the police listed in Madore’s arrest affidavit.

On Wednesday, Garrity said that the guns “remain in the custody of the Strafford Police Department.”

Garrity said the 9-millimeter handgun the police say Madore used to kill Haas was not the same one cited in his 2016 arrest affidavit.

The authorities have also not said whether they believe Madore was connected to the AR-style rifle, tactical vest, and several magazines of ammunition found in a U-Haul in the hospital parking lot last Friday. But Garrity said Wednesday none of the equipment was involved in the 2016 case.

The 2016 bail orders had been sealed because they included information that Madore was referred to mental health treatment after his arrest, according to Judge Mark Howard’s Wednesday order to unseal them. Madore’s competency evaluations remain sealed.

According to the unsealed portions of Madore’s 2016 file, the police had gone to his home for reports that he’d hit his mother, knocking her to the ground, and choked his sister until she could not breathe.

Madore spent some time in jail as well as the New Hampshire Hospital, the same place the police say he killed Haas.

The charges were eventually dropped for reasons not stated in the file. Charges are often dropped when a person is found incompetent to stand trial.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: info@newhampshirebulletin.com. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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