BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A domestic dispute that may have involved a father and a son turned deadly when a police officer was fatally shot by a man who authorities say later died in a roaring house fire in southern New Hampshire.
Suspected gunman Michael Nolan, 47, was presumed dead Monday after a late afternoon fire demolished the duplex in a tree-lined neighborhood restricted to people 55 and older.
State Attorney General Joseph Foster said Monday night that Brentwood police Officer Stephen Arkell, 48, answered the domestic dispute call at about 4 p.m. and was fatally shot when he arrived at the house. A second officer tried to enter but was driven away by gunfire.
About an hour after the shooting, the house burst into flames and video showed flames eating through the roof of the modern yellow building. Firefighters were kept away from the scene and soon a massive explosion blew the front off the house. Within an hour, it was leveled.
Nolan is the son of the homeowner, 86-year-old Walter Nolan.
Arkell, who was married and had two teenage daughters, had worked for the Brentwood Police Department for about 15 years as a part-time officer. He helped coach the girls' lacrosse team at Exeter High School, where both of his daughters play.
Gov. Maggie Hassan directed that flags fly at half-staff in honor of Arkell.
"The entire state of New Hampshire is in mourning over the tragic loss of Brentwood Officer Steve Arkell," she said in a statement. "Officer Arkell bravely answered the call of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice, a heroic demonstration of his commitment to the safety of his fellow citizens.
"Like so many of our first responders do on a daily basis, Officer Arkell courageously put his life on the line to protect others, and in doing so, was tragically taken far too soon," she said.