Attorney General Says Police Shooting In Belmont Was Justified

Aug 6, 2019

Police photo of the semiautomatic rifle found in Sheehan's car.
Credit New Hampshire Attorney General's Office

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced at a press briefing today that his office would not file charges against three Belmont police officers who shot and killed a man in June.

(Scroll down to read the AG's report on the investigation.)

MacDonald said the use of deadly force by Belmont Police Officers Kristopher Kloetz, Patrick Riley, and Evan Boulanger against 45-year-old Michael Sheehan was legally justified.

Sheehan was pulled over by the officers and then stepped out of his car with a gun pointed under his chin. Police say Sheehan continued to walk toward the officers after being told to stop and drop the weapon.

"It was reasonable for them to conclude that each of them faced an imminent threat of deadly force from Mr. Sheehan,” MacDonald said.

Officers shot at Sheehan 13 times.

Two of the officers involved in the shooting, Boulanger and Riley, had been involved in use of deadly force incidents before, according to Assistant Attorney General Jesse O’Neill.

O'Neill said the guns in Sheehan’s possession that night – he also had a semiautomatic rifle in his car in addition to the handgun he was holding – were purchased by Sheehan's girlfriend, Meagan LaDuke, who said Sheehan forced her to buy them.

“It is likely that Mr. Sheehan wanted Ms. LaDuke to buy that gun for him, because he was a convicted felon, and had a domestic violence conviction, and would have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm himself,” O’Neill said.

Police had been called to Sheehan’s parents’ house earlier that day after Sheehan reportedly fired his weapon and made threats to his mother and sister.

The attorney general’s report, released on Tuesday, also said that Sheehan had a history of domestic violence and mental health issues, and that just three days before the June 15 incident, Sheehan had threatened LaDauke and pointed a gun at her.

All three officers involved in the shooting are scheduled to return to work tomorrow.

Read the full report: