Police identify shooter as a transient, find AR-style gun and ammunition in vehicle

By: - November 18, 2023 12:43 pm

A 33-year-old transient shot and killed a New Hampshire Hospital security officer Friday evening at the start of his shift. A state trooper shot and killed the gunman.

This story was updated on Nov. 18 at 2:28 p.m. with new details about the shooter’s background.

The police identified the man who shot and killed a security officer in the lobby of the New Hampshire Hospital psychiatric hospital Friday as John Madore, a 33-year-old transient who had spent time in Concord and had recently stayed in a Seacoast hotel. 

Col. Mark Hall, director of the N.H. State Police, said during a Saturday morning press conference that a search of a suspicious U-Haul vehicle in the hospital parking lot contained an AR-style rifle, tactical vest, and several magazines of ammunition. 

John Madore

He also said Madore killed security officer Bradley Haas, 63, of Franklin, who had just started his shift, with a 9mm pistol. Madore was carrying additional ammunition. Haas was unarmed. Attorney General John Formella said, “It wouldn’t be typical for that position to be armed working security in the front lobby.” 

Hall and Formella declined to say whether the U-Haul, which was running, was connected to Madore or why Madore was at the hospital. Hall also declined to identify the state trooper who shot and killed Madore. They would not describe where in the lobby Madore was stopped but said it was before he would have reached metal detectors. 

“Although I am not able to comment on the specifics of this investigation at this time, I am extremely proud of the trooper’s actions that without a doubt prevented additional loss of life,” Hall said.

Haas, a former Franklin Police chief who joined the state hospital’s security force in 2019, was killed around 3:30 p.m, Hall said. Police dispatch calls, shared by WMUR, indicate the situation unfolded quickly. 

“Sounds like maybe an officer has been shot at,” a dispatcher said, followed by another who said, “I have one security officer down. One shooter who is on the first floor.” A third voice confirmed that: “Correct, I have one security officer who is wounded and I have the shooter who was wounded and down at this moment in time. We’re holding on him.”

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW needs help with mental illness, there are a few places that can help. 

Dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or visit 988lifeline.org. 

New Hampshire also offers help via phone, text, and chat 24 hours a day through its Rapid Response Access Point. 

A 988 operator can connect you or call or text 833-710-6477. To chat, visit nh988.com. 

NAMI New Hampshire can connect you and your family with resources. Dial 1-800-242-6264 or visit naminh.org.

There were several individuals in the lobby at the time, Formella said, but he declined to say whether they were patients, staff, or visitors. They were not injured, the police said. The state hospital remained closed to visitors Saturday morning but Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver said staff are connecting patients with families by phone. The department also established a hotline for families to call: 603-271-3004.

Madore’s LinkedIn profile lists one job: peer support specialist at Riverbend Community Mental Health. Patricia McLaughlin, vice president of communications and marketing, said Saturday that Madore held the position four years ago, for one month, and was based in Concord.

She said she is not permitted to say why employees leave the organization. 

McLaughlin described a peer support specialist as “a person with lived experience (whose) function is to walk alongside someone going through their own journey.” She said peers can use their personal experiences to instill hope and offer encouragement to others facing behavioral health challenges.

Haas, who spent 28 years with the Franklin Police Department and served in the army, died following life-saving measures, the police said.

“Chief Haas was already a hero when he walked into work yesterday given his service to our country, to our state, and to his community,” Formella said Saturday. “But he will now be remembered forever as a man who died protecting patients, staff, and visitors at New Hampshire Hospital. 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.”

Formella declined Saturday to say how many patients were at the acute psychiatric hospital at the time of the shooting. According to the online tracker of open psychiatric beds in the state, there were 152 patients at the hospital on Friday: four there voluntarily, the rest being held on involuntary emergency admission petitions.

Formella declined to describe the layout of the hospital’s lobby or say what type of security measures are in place. He said Haas “engaged” Madore “right away.” The trooper who shot Madore is stationed at the hospital. 

Harriman, an architectural firm with offices in New England, was hired to redesign the front entrance to improve security, according to a description on the project’s website. The post does not indicate when the work was done, and a Health and Human Services spokesperson could not be reached Saturday for a date.

“Harriman developed a secure entrance to control visitor access and prevent elopement, expanded the police station, and established control points through the public lobby area to improve security,” it said. “Ballistics grade wall construction and glazing secure the police station and entrance vestibule.”

Formella said investigators are reviewing video footage of the shootings. 

“We have a lot of information and facts to gather,” he said. “I do think it is safe to say that without the actions of Bradley Hass and without the actions of the trooper on scene, as we’ve said this could have been a lot worse.”

During Saturday’s press conference, Weaver described the situation as an “unthinkable tragedy” and said the department is providing mental health resources and support to staff and residents. She encouraged anyone experiencing mental health challenges to call the 24-hour 988 hotline.

“Our New Hampshire Hospital staff have not wavered for one moment. They have demonstrated courage and skill as the incident unfolded following the protocols for an emergency of this type,” Weaver said. “They have delivered skilled and compassionate care without interruption. This has been a traumatic incident for the hospital, our law enforcement, our first responder colleagues, our department, and our wider community.”

Gov. Chris Sununu echoed that Saturday.

“Make no mistake. If not for the heroics and sacrifice of Bradley Haas, the bravery of the New Hampshire Hospital staff, and the unflinching response of the New Hampshire State Police, this tragedy, it could have been much, much worse. New Hampshire owes a debt of gratitude to them all.”

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]