OSSIPEE — Details pertaining to an officer-involved shooting in Ossipee came out this week during a hearing for a protection order filed by a local woman against a man who was shot by state troopers last month.
Circuit Judge Melissa Vetanze Wednesday issued the order of protection for the woman against John Swanson, 53, of Ossipee.
Ossipee police officers arrived at Swanson’s Oakwood Drive residence at about 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 7 to serve Swanson, 53, with several legal documents and to arrest him, a press release issued by the state Attorney General’s Office said.
According to Kate Spiner, director of communications for the state Attorney General’s Office, Swanson refused to come out of his home, and state police officers were called to assist with the unfolding situation. “At approximately 7:56 p.m., Mr. Swanson was shot during a confrontation with the police,” Spiner said, adding Swanson sustained injuries and received treatment.
“No officers or other private citizens were physically injured during the incident. There is no threat to the public,” Spiner said in the release.
According to the state, the officers who discharged their firearms were Nicholas Levesque, a state trooper for seven years; Michael Cedrone, a 15-year trooper; and Nicholas Cyr, a 14-year trooper.
According to documents filed Nov. 7 in Ossipee’s Circuit Court, Judge Charles Greenhalgh had issued a temporary order of protection against Swanson on behalf of a relative. The order would prevent Swanson from coming within 500 feet of this person or having any contact with her.
In the domestic violence petition, the woman alleged that Swanson struggled with bipolar disorder and could be verbally and physically abusive.
Swanson was served notice of the hearing and a temporary order Nov. 15.
Vetanze said Swanson was sent motions to continue the hearing or to appear by phone, and those were not filed. She said the court has heard nothing from Swanson, so she decided to go ahead with the hearing without him.
The docket said that Swanson was at Portsmouth Hospital. On Wednesday afternoon, his condition was listed as “good,” according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Asked by Judge Vetanze if she knew where Swanson was, the woman who filed the petition said she didn’t know. Speaking under oath, the woman told the judge that at 3:30 a.m. on Nov 7, Swanson was “hollering” about how they needed to get out of the house because the people in the television were coming to get them. “Like they were going to walk right off the screen,” she said.
Concerned, she packed a bag, sat in her car and called a friend, who called police on her behalf. She instructed the friend to tell police not to come with lights and sirens. She said she thought police would take a while to get there, but by the time she got the garage door open, a cruiser had already arrived.
She said the first policeman took her to a corner store, where they talked.
Vetanze said in order to grant the order of protection, she needed to hear that Swanson was a “credible present threat” to her safety. The woman said Swanson had hit her in the mouth about five years ago after she had his guns sold. Since then, she said Swanson would yell and curse at her at close range.
“I’m just terribly frightened of being around him, and as much as I love him and don’t want him to go to jail, I think he should go to a mental institution,” she told the judge.
She said Swanson had previously been treated at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Vermont, at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro and a hospital in Concord.
The woman said after she left the house on Nov. 7, Swanson called every friend in her phone book seeking to know where she was.
“He did not stop,” said the woman. “I think he was out to get me.”
She thought he had no guns after he gave up bear hunting but said it turned out he still had a lot of them. “He ended up shooting up my whole house,” said the woman. “This is after I left.”
She said he shot up the doors, windows and furniture. “Three-quarters of my house has to be refurbished,” said the woman, who said she saw the home again for the first time since the shooting over the weekend.
The woman said she spent some time at the hospital, then spent time at another family member’s home. She said when police arrived, they used tear gas in order to either get Swanson out of the house or to get themselves in the home.
“I think finally they shot him in the right or left shoulder, thinking that would be the safest place because he wouldn't stop shooting,” said the woman.
The anecdote about the home being riddled with bullets was not included in the application for the petition.
Vetanze said the information about the home being damaged was relevant. She allowed the woman to amend her protective order petition to include that.
The judge said the protective order would be valid for one year but could be renewed for another year. The next renewal could run for five years.
She said Swanson can challenge the order and make a motion to have a further hearing.
On Tuesday, Deputy Carroll County Attorney Steve Briden said that there “is still an active criminal investigation into that incident.”
State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald, New Hampshire State Police Col. Christopher J. Wagner and Ossipee Police Chief Joseph Duchesne have worked jointly on the investigation.