CONWAY, N.H. (AP) – Two people died in a shooting Monday morning in Conway, a third victim was hospitalized, and police searched for a suspect, a prosecutor said.
Witnesses reported hearing shots around 10 a.m. at an army-navy store on busy Route 16, the main road through town.
Authorities closed the highway and urged people to stay inside their homes or workplaces. A small army of law enforcement officers, aided by helicopters and dog teams, searched for a man described as armed with a small handgun.
Several people were taken into custody as the day wore on. By early evening, a news release from the Attorney General’s office said the suspect “may still be in the community” and was believed to be “armed and dangerous.”
It was not clear if police were still searching the area as of Monday night. Ann Rice of the attorney general’s office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The man was described as blond, 5 feet 10-inches tall, in his early-to-mid-20s, and wearing a baseball cap and camouflage shorts.
Rice said the identification of the victims was in progress. The victim who was injured has been hospitalized in Maine Medical Center in Portland, in a special care unit, she said.
WFXT-TV in Boston identified one of victims who was killed as Jim Walker, 35, the store manager, quoting his sister-in-law, Stacey Mitchell.
“He was a great person,” she said.
Fran Duncan, who works about a mile away at the Lamplighter Mobile Home Park north of town, said state police asked her to call all of the community’s residents and warn them to stay inside as they searched for a man with a gun in the woods. Duncan said the park has more than 200 homes, many of them second homes.
She said she was told there had been a shooting down the road and the suspect was in the woods with a gun.
“I can hear the helicopter up there and there’s police everywhere,” she said.
Store manager Dick Poulin got similar news.
“I was told they were looking for someone described as wearing camouflage shorts, blondish hair, automatic weapon. That’s all I needed to shut down and lock my doors,” Poulin told unionleader.com. Poulin is assistant manager of the state liquor store across the street from the site of the shooting, called the Army Barracks.
Poulin and four employees locked themselves inside the liquor store, the Web site said.
Dick Stevens, who works at Saco Canoe Rental, also across the street, said he was outside his store when he heard two shots about four seconds apart. Stevens, 77, said he turned and saw a young man run around the Army Barracks to the north and into the woods.
The store sells camping equipment and gear such as knives, stun guns and paintball guns, but no firearms, company official Marilyn Brabents said. She told unionleader.com the store’s manager usually arrives before the 10 a.m. opening to check inventory and do payroll.