NH Home Explosion: Man Accused of Killing Cop, Setting House on Fire

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 01:19 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A N.H. home explosion Monday appeared to be the last desperate act of a reportedly homicidal man who is believed to have killed a police officer responding to a domestic dispute call earlier in the day.

The officer, Steven Arkell, was reportedly shot and killed at the Brentwood, New Hampshire, home before the suspected shooter, 47-year-old Michael Nolan, torched it. Nolan, who lived at the residence with his 86-year-old father, is believed to have died in the blaze that gave way to the explosion, ABC News affiliate WLNE-TV reported.

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The explosion reportedly occurred as police, SWAT, and other law enforcement officials were surrounding the home in an attempt to apprehend Nolan. Before the blast occurred, first responders were able to remove the 86-year-old father from the residence on a stretcher, The Associated Press reported. It's not clear what, if any, injuries he sustained.

The blaze reportedly began after 4 p.m., with the subsequent explosion occurring at about 5:30. Firefighters were not granted access to the scene until after 6 p.m.

According to WLNE-TV, neighbors described the elder Nolan as friendly and outgoing, and said his son tended to stay indoors.

Neighbor Wayne Hughes told the Portsmouth Press-Herald that police responded to the house after neighbors heard an argument Monday afternoon and called 911. His wife, Susan, said that she saw a police officer arrive at the home and then heard "rapid gunfire."

Arkell was a 15-year veteran of the Brentwood police force and also served as a part-time animal control officer for the town, the local paper noted.

"He went above and beyond what he had to do. He was just a genuinely nice guy, just like the chief. It's definitely a loss," local store owner Lisa Dow told the Portsmouth Press-Herald.

It's not yet clear what motivated Michael Nolan to allegedly shoot Arkell and torch his own home.

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