The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, N.H — A former student whose disturbing online messages caused a modified lockdown at Kearsarge Regional High School on Monday broke into an unstaffed police station, stole a shotgun and fired several shots, hoping to commit "suicide by cop," police said.
The 19-year-old was taken into custody later Monday and is now in a secure psychiatric facility at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where a psychiatrist said he was suicidal, said police Chief Timothy Julian.
The young man said he stole the shotgun and pulled the trigger "because he wanted to die and he was going to shoot himself," Julian said. "Then he decided he'd rather point the gun at a police officer and have the police officer shoot him."
Police have not released the former student's name, as he has not been charged with crime. However, Julian said he expects criminal charges will be filed eventually.
The Kearsarge Regional School District cancelled kindergarten and all outside and after-school activities and police patrolled the schools Monday after the former student wrote an online suicide note to his friends Sunday night and also warned one not to go to school, authorities said.
The note told his friends he loved them and expressed his hopelessness and inability to see another way out of his struggles.
School officials said the young man, who lived in Springfield, was a senior who had left school earlier this year. Students who received the note told high school administrators, who contacted the district and Sutton Police.
Police in Springfield also got a call about a suicidal person Sunday night and started looking for him. Julian said he returned to the police station around 11 p.m. and discovered it had been broken into and a shotgun had been stolen from the evidence room. Someone also had shot through a wall.
Julian heard a shot from woods bordering a nearby recreation field and called for police backup from neighboring towns. A second shot was fired, but even with help from a state police helicopter, officers could not find the man that night. The next morning, police found the missing shotgun in the woods.
The young man was found walking down a street late Monday afternoon, and did not resist when police took him into custody. He hadn't eaten in two days, Julian said, and had been living in different places since dropping out.