Pembroke man, shot by police during car chase, indicted on felony charges
By PAT GROSSMITH New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER – A Pembroke man, shot twice in the leg by police after a car chase last June in back alleys and on downtown streets, was indicted on seven felony charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree assault for allegedly trying to run down police officers with his Jeep Commander.
Christopher Varagianis, 37, of 12 Alyssa Drive, but currently being held in the Valley Street jail, also was indicted by a grand jury sitting in Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District, on five counts of reckless conduct. The panel also issued misdemeanor charges of two counts each of disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest.
The incident happened on June 3 and began outside the 7 Days Market on Union Street, where Varagianis was reportedly found unconscious in his Jeep.
According to police, he regained consciousness, rejected medical treatment and then drove off with mountain bike patrol officers in pursuit because they believed he was impaired. Those officers radioed for assistance, and two unmarked police cars joined the pursuit.
Varagianis refused to pull over and drove at a high rate of speed in back alleys and city streets, eventually ramming his Jeep into the front of the unmarked Chevrolet Yukon being operated by Detective Michael Lavallee, according to a preliminary report of the officer-involved shooting issued by the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office in June.
The vehicles were locked grill-to-grill, with each driver stepping on the accelerator, and officers outside yelling for Varagianis to stop.
Three officers fired their weapons that day, according to the attorney general's report: Detective Joseph Mucci, who fired two shots at the Jeep's tires, flattened one of them; Lavallee, who aimed low and fired at Varagianis as his Jeep broke free and was about to pass him and after he warned him that he was going to shoot; and an unidentified undercover officer who fired after he saw two other officers jump out of the way of the Jeep to avoid being hit.
The attorney general's report does not identify which officer or officers actually shot Varagianis.