New Hampshire court records reveal that for John Madore, who killed a hospital security officer, guns and mental illness intersected in dangerous ways. (Annmarie Timmins | New Hampshire Bulletin)
John Madore was barricaded in his Strafford bedroom, with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol and an assault rifle next to him, warning the police officers on the other side of the door. He had just allegedly choked his sister until she couldn’t breathe and knocked his mother to the floor, according to court documents.
“I have firearms,” an affidavit quotes Madore as saying, “and this is not going to end well.”
That was Jan. 11, 2016, inside his mother’s Strafford home. Madore was charged by police and later admitted to the New Hampshire Hospital because authorities believed he posed a danger to himself or others, court records show.
On Friday, officials say Madore, 33, entered the lobby of that same psychiatric hospital in Concord, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, and shot security officer and former Franklin police chief Bradley Haas to death before being shot and killed by a state trooper. The authorities have not said whether Madore was connected to the U-Haul in the hospital parking lot with an AR-style rifle, tactical vest, and several magazines of ammunition inside.
Court records show his life in between was marked by bouts of severe mental illness, thoughts of suicide, hospitalizations, jail sentences, and absconding while on bail. What the court records don’t reveal is whether his bail conditions ever restricted his access to firearms.
On the heels of last month’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, by a man whose mental illness was known to many, Madore’s life, as well as his and Haas’s deaths, are almost certain to become part of the discussion over mental illness and gun safety in the Legislature next year and beyond.
Citing the hospital shooting, the New Hampshire Gun Violence Prevention Coalition issued a press release Sunday, calling for tighter gun regulations.
“Gun violence is here in the Granite State and we need to take meaningful action to prevent and deter future tragedy,” said Sen. Debra Altschiller, a Stratham Democrat who is expected to reintroduce her prior bills that failed, including tightening gun laws, such as allowing the courts to temporarily take a person’s guns if their mental health poses a danger to others.
The Legislature passed a so-called red-flag bill in 2020, but Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed it. An attempt to override the veto failed.
Madore’s family could not be reached for this story.
According to court records, Madore’s involvement with the police dates to at least 2014 when he was stopped for speeding in New London and charged with carrying a firearm without a license and resisting arrest. The Legislature repealed the requirement to carry a license in 2017.
The gun charge was placed on file without a finding, with a condition of good behavior for six months, the court record said. Madore pleaded guilty to speeding and resisting arrest charges and was fined $620. He was 23.
Two years later, his mental health struggles brought the police to his home several times, beginning in January 2016 when he barricaded himself in his bedroom, armed with two guns. According to a police affidavit describing the incident, Madore, upset that the family’s dog had to be put down, knocked his mother to the floor and attempted to strangle his sister.
When the police called for a SWAT team, because the “officers perceived a deadly encounter with the defendant,” Madore surrendered peacefully, according to the affidavit. He was charged with second-degree assault, simple assault, and reckless conduct and spent 19 days in the Strafford County jail.
Those charges would later be dismissed amid competency concerns, according to court records.
Madore’s bail stipulations after the incident at his mother’s home included no contact with his mother and sister and participation in the county’s bail supervision program, according to court records. It is unclear if those conditions included restrictions on Madore’s access to guns, as the court declined Monday to release the bail order.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW needs help with mental illness: 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.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW needs help with mental illness:
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.
Four days after his release from jail, Madore went to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover and then the New Hampshire Hospital in Concord asking to have his mental health evaluated, according to a court record. He was admitted to the latter, discharged several days later, and disappeared in violation of his bail, according to court records. Madore’s competency evaluations are sealed.
Madore’s mental health appeared to worsen in the next year.
Twice in May 2016, the family called the police over concerns about Madore’s statements that he wanted to die by suicide. The second time, they found Madore in the woods, barefoot, indicating he wanted to kill himself. He’d spent the night there, according to court records.
The police took Madore to the hospital for an involuntary emergency admission, according to a court record. The Strafford County Attorney’s Office later asked that his bail be revoked because he posed a danger “to himself and the community,” court records state.
A second competency and involuntary admission to the state hospital followed in the summer of 2016. About a year later, in October 2017, the charges against Madore were dropped.
His court file does not say why. Nor does it say how long he remained at the state hospital or what his discharge conditions required of him. The authorities have not said what brought Madore to the state hospital Friday afternoon armed with a handgun and extra ammunition.
On Monday afternoon, state officials and staff from NAMI NH held a candlelight vigil near the New Hampshire Hospital grounds to remember Haas and support hospital staff and patients.
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