What we know so far about Friday's shooting at New Hampshire Hospital
A New Hampshire Hospital security officer was fatally shot Friday afternoon in the lobby of the state psychiatric facility, before a state trooper on the scene shot and killed the suspect, state officials said.
A lot of details are still unconfirmed, but state officials say there’s no indication of an ongoing threat to the public. Here’s what else we know, based on what authorities have shared so far.
Around 3:40 p.m. Friday afternoon, New Hampshire State Police said they received word of an active shooter at New Hampshire Hospital, the state psychiatric facility in Concord.
Authorities said a gunman entered the lobby of the hospital and — before making it past the facility’s metal detectors — shot 63-year-old Bradley Haas, who was working as a security officer guarding the facility. A state trooper stationed at the hospital shot and killed the suspect on the scene.
“All indications are that the actions of this trooper saved a lot of lives, and that this trooper's actions were heroic,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said.
State officials said Haas was given CPR on the scene and taken to nearby Concord Hospital, located less than two miles away, but died as a result of the shooting.
“He will now be remembered forever as a man who died protecting patients, staff and visitors at New Hampshire Hospital,” Formella said of Haas. “So we cannot say enough how grateful we are to him for his service, and words cannot express the condolences that we would like to send to his family, friends and loved ones.”
Autopsies completed Saturday concluded that both Haas and the gunman died from multiple gunshot wounds. It does not appear that any patients, visitors or other staff were injured. Formella said several other people were in the lobby at the time of the shooting.
Formella said Haas was not armed at the time of the shooting, but “it wouldn't be typical for that position to be armed, working the security in the front lobby.”
The state is not yet identifying the state trooper who shot the suspect, saying they’re withholding that information “pending the conclusion of a formal interview.” Formella said it is “normal procedure” to have a state trooper stationed at the state psychiatric facility.
What we know about the suspect
State officials have identified 33-year-old John Madore as the gunman. They haven’t specified a potential motive, nor have they confirmed whether he had any connection to the state psychiatric institution where the shooting took place.
Court records indicate that Madore was ordered to be transported from New Hampshire Hospital for hearings while he was facing assault and reckless conduct charges in 2016 and 2017. Those charges were later dismissed, according to documents provided by the New Hampshire court system on Saturday.
It’s not clear, based on the available records, why Madore was being transported from the facility. State officials would not confirm whether he was a patient.
In 2014, Madore was charged with carrying a handgun without a license and resisting arrest. He eventually pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, and the handgun charge was placed on file without a finding, according to the court docket. He paid a fine and was sentenced on the condition that he maintain good behavior.
Madore briefly worked as a peer support specialist for Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord in the summer of 2019, a spokesperson for the organization confirmed Saturday. He is no longer employed by Riverbend, they said.
At a Saturday press briefing, Formella said Madore was transient, with recent stints at a hotel on the Seacoast and in the greater Concord area.
“Beyond that, we’re still gathering facts and information, and we will work to gather additional information about Mr. Madore and why he did this and what led up to this tragic incident yesterday,” Formella said.
New Hampshire State Police Col. Mark Hall said law enforcement who responded to the scene discovered a U-Haul running in the parking lot that “initially appeared suspicious.” Investigators with the state police bomb squad later determined the vehicle wasn’t a threat to the public, Hall said, but they did find “several items of concern” inside the truck — ”including an AR-style rifle, a tactical vest and several magazines of ammunition.”
Madore used a 9mm pistol, with additional ammunition, in the shooting, Hall said.
State authorities were unable to say whether Madore appeared to be preparing to commit a mass shooting. They said they’re still working to gather information about where he was leading up to the shooting, as well as information about the U-Haul and other details that might shed light on the killing.
Officials are asking anyone with information about Madore or the incident to contact the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit at 603-628-8477.
What we know about the victim
Before becoming a state security officer, Haas spent nearly three decades with the Franklin Police Department, including two years as its chief. He retired from the department in 2008, according to news reports.
Haas also served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army. His family is requesting privacy, according to state officials.
Condolences for Haas and his family poured in from state officials in the aftermath of the shooting.
“Officer Haas was a dedicated member of the Safety team who died a hero protecting the patients and staff of New Hampshire Hospital,” state safety commissioner Robert Quinn said in a statement issued Saturday morning. “Our hearts ache at this loss.”
Gov. Chris Sununu shared his condolences in a social media post Friday evening, and echoed those sentiments at a press briefing Saturday morning.
“Make no mistake, if not for the heroics and sacrifice of Bradley Haas, the bravery of the New Hampshire hospital staff, the unflinching response of New Hampshire State Police, this tragedy could have been much, much worse,” Sununu said. “New Hampshire owes a debt of gratitude to them all.”
What this means for the hospital
New Hampshire Hospital is the state psychiatric hospital, located on a sprawling campus of state government office buildings. It’s bordered by athletic fields and densely populated residential neighborhoods, in the heart of the capital city.
The facility cares primarily for people with acute mental health conditions who are involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. State records show 152 patients were admitted to the facility as of Friday, including four who were admitted voluntarily.
In the wake of the shooting, the hospital is now closed to visitors, but remains open to patients, New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver said.
“Most aspects of hospital operations are normal. However, this event has disrupted our visitation abilities, and we are actively working to reestablish our visitor entrance,” Weaver said Saturday morning. “Patients are actively communicating with their families via telephone, and we are hopeful that the visitation will resume soon.”
The state has set up a hotline for patients, families and staff, which can be reached at 603-271-3004. Weaver also emphasized that additional support is available for anyone in need at 988, the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
“As I walked through the hospital last night talking with staff, I was struck by how calm the environment was and how strong staff appeared, despite the horrific event that had occurred just hours earlier,” Weaver said. “I have no doubt that the New Hampshire Hospital team’s steadfast commitment to their patients contributed to keeping those in our care safe, both during and after the event. We are reminded today of what an extraordinary team they are.”
Formella said he doesn’t have any reason to believe other hospitals in the state are at increased risk in the aftermath of the shooting.
This is not the first time this kind of violence has played out inside a New Hampshire health care facility. In 2017, a man fatally shot his mother inside the intensive care unit of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, thanked those who responded to the incident at the state psychiatric facility for their efforts to “minimize further harm and provide care to those in need.”
“Hospitals are not just a place of healing. They are a sanctuary of compassion, care and hope,” he said in a statement issued Saturday morning. “All hospitals in the Granite State are here to lend support to New Hampshire Hospital’s leadership and staff as they now grapple with the unexplainable loss and tragedy that has unfortunately befallen them.”
How others are responding
Susan Stearns, who heads the mental health advocacy group NAMI-New Hampshire, said Friday night along with those directly involved, her thoughts are with the hospital staff, first responders and families with loved ones at the hospital.
She said many Granite Staters are likely still grappling with the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, just weeks ago – including first responders who helped in the shooting’s aftermath.
“We’ve all been through this recently with the situation in Lewiston, which was in our backyards,” she said. “Many of us felt that was pretty traumatizing, being that close to home. I think obviously this is going to be traumatizing for folks.”
Formella, at a Saturday press briefing, also acknowledged that many are feeling understandably on edge in the wake of the recent mass shooting in Maine, but he emphasized that he has no reason to believe there’s an ongoing threat to the public in the wake of Friday’s shooting.
“That doesn't mean we're going to let our guard down or be complacent,” he said. “We're going to investigate this thoroughly, and we will do what we always do in the law enforcement community, and that is be proactive and stay on alert to protect the state.”
While Stearns emphasized that there's a lot we still don't know about the shooting, she cautioned against conflating acts of violence with mental illness, as can often happen in the aftermath of these incidents. She noted that the vast majority of people with mental illness "are not violent and do not commit such acts."
Stearns noted there are resources available 24/7 for anyone who needs help. People can call or text 833-710-6477 for New Hampshire’s Rapid Response Access Point, for help in a mental health or substance use crisis.