Man arrested after standoff in Newmarket — (New Hampshire Union Leader)

Original article no longer available

New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, NH)

August 16, 2002

Author: PEG WARNER Union Leader Correspondent

NEWMARKET — A four-hour police standoff at a Lamprey Street home ended peacefully yesterday, with one man in custody and the man he is accused of attacking treated for injuries that include a stab wound to his hand.

Eric Francis, 23, who was out on bail pending trial in an April case in which he allegedly assaulted two Newmarket police officers, now faces new charges of assault, criminal threatening and resisting arrest.

Michael Guarnieri, who may have been attacked in a confrontation over prescription medicine, was treated at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and released.

Francis and his girlfriend, Nicole Guarnieri, rent the home at 7 Lamprey St. Michael Guarnieri, who is Nicole Guarnieri’s brother, has been staying at the home temporarily, said police Chief Rodney Collins.

A confrontation between the two men set in motion events that brought at least 30 officers from Newmarket and the Seacoast Emergency Response Team to the home, where the first officers there found Michael Guarnieri on the lawn.

After Francis wouldn’t answer the door when officers knocked on it, they tried to draw him out with phone messages on an answering machine, including one by Guarnieri’s mother, and several attempts with a public-address system.

“We asked him to come out repeatedly,” Collins told reporters yesterday afternoon. “We told him he was under arrest (for the April incident). We asked him to come out. It was bellowing all over the area. He would not come out.”

Since neighbors had been evacuated from nearby buildings, police decided not to rush in, Collins said.

“We knew that time was on our side,” said the chief. “It was essentially just the police and the suspect.”

Extra precautions, such as the decision to call in SERT, were taken because of a combination of factors, said Collins, including the violent tendencies Francis allegedly had displayed yesterday and in April, the fact that he was armed and concerns that he might be suicidal.

After several hours, Francis stepped out onto the porch, but went back inside. When he came out again, around 1:10 p.m., SERT officers approached and took him into custody.

While they were waiting out Francis, police also went to the lengths of obtaining arrest and search warrants. After Francis was detained, police searched the home and removed a knife, a marijuana cigarette and some associated paraphernalia, and the prescription drug Zoloft.

Guarnieri’s distraught 911 call around 8:50 a.m. brought police to the scene in moments. In one stroke of luck, several officers were just yards away working a traffic detail. In another, when the call went out to SERT some time later, some members of the regional unit, which is made up of officers from departments throughout the Seacoast, were already in Newmarket training at a firing range off Route 152.

On a tape recording of his distress call, Guarnieri is heard repeatedly saying, “Oh my God,” as he tries to describe what happened and as dispatchers urge him to calm down so he can better provide details.

On the tape, Guarnieri said Francis stole his prescription medication and, in an ensuing confrontation, pinned him to the ground with a knife to his throat and threatened to kill him. Guarnieri has a broken leg that he says prevented him from defending himself.

“He’s stabbing me with the knife he gave me for Christmas,” Guarnieri is heard saying at one point.

Guarnieri told the first officers at the scene, who found him bloody and with a bloodshot and swollen left eye, that he had returned to the home after leaving for work and caught Francis stealing his medication, according to a police affidavit. When Guarnieri confronted him, he told the officers, Francis became irate and attacked, threatening Guarnieri, stabbing him and kicking him repeatedly in his broken right leg. He then took Guarnieri’s crutches and used them to strike him in that leg hard enough to bend the crutches, according to the affidavit.

Because Francis was arrested while he was on bail, he is being held without bail on the new charges. By late afternoon, he remained in the Newmarket lockup to calm down before he would be transferred to Rockingham County jail, said Collins, who described Francis as “hostile and profane” with the officers who arrested him, although he did not physically resist.

Francis will be arraigned this morning in Exeter District Court on a felony charge of first-degree assault, two misdemeanor charges of simple assault, criminal threatening, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, based on his alleged refusal to come out on police orders.

Record Number: 0F5857F372A096A4
Copyright 2002 Union Leader Corp.