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Woman linked to police shooting arrested

March 23. 2012 4:04PM
Police said they have found Jennifer Whitfield, who was allegedly driving a car with Myles Webster, who is accused of shooting Officer Dan Doherty on Wednesday night. 

MANCHESTER - Authorities found the woman they say was driving a car with the man charged in the shooting of a Manchester police officer Wednesday.

Manchester Police Chief David Mara, New Hampshire Attorney General Mike Delaney and prosecutors from both the state and Hillsborough County held a news conference Friday afternoon, disclosing select details in what has been a tight-lipped investigation since Officer Dan Doherty was shot Wednesday night.

Mara said Doherty is 'a tough kid' and expects the 25-year-old officer to recover from the five gunshot wounds.

'He's getting better a little bit every day. It's still a long road,' Mara said. 'There is no doubt in my mind he's going to get through this.'

Doherty's condition was said to be improved Friday.

Police had asked the public to be on the lookout for a 2005 bluish-green Hyundai Sonata, with New Hampshire license plate 3140994, and 35-year-old Jennifer Whitfield. Whitfield was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Friday without incident. Authorities did not immediately disclose any details of the arrest.

Investigators said Whitfield was the driver of the car Myles Webster was a passenger in just before he is accused of shooting 15 bullets at Doherty, hitting him five times.

Webster, a 22-year-old with a lengthy criminal record, was arraigned on an attempted murder charge Thursday and was being held on $1 million bail. He was released from federal prison in January after serving six months for walking away from a halfway house.

Delaney said the state and county would handle the prosecution together. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for April 4. More than 40 Manchester police officers attended Webster's arraignment Thursday as Hillsborough County Assistant Prosecutor Karen Gorham told a judge that Webster fired 15 times at their fellow officer.

Gorham also said during the arraignment that police were not looking for anyone else in the shooting, but that was updated Friday with police asking the public to watch for the Hundai and Whitfield.

Whitfield, who sometimes goes by Jennifer Goupil, was wanted on a state charge of unauthorized use of propelled vehicle or rented property. Information on the car, which was mentioned in a law enforcement broadcast alert Thursday night, was not made public until the news conference outside police headquarters Friday afternoon.

Jeffery Strelzin, senior assistant state attorney general, said investigators want to question Whitfield about her relationship to Webster and what she knows about the shooting.

'She was in the car. She was the driver and we obviously want to talk to her,' Strelzin said.

Whitfield was not facing charges related to the shooting as of Friday.

'The only person who fired at the officer is in custody,' said Strezin, who declined comment when asked whether Doherty had fired his weapon.

Strelzin and Delaney said they were limited in what they were allowed to say in the ongoing investigation. That includes what led to the events in the Rimmon Heights area on the city's West Side around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The crime scene was only blocks from Catholic Medical Center, where Doherty remained Friday.

Investigators said Webster's arrest warrant should provide more details when it is unsealed, which could happen next week.

Police have said Doherty was hit in the legs and torso by bullets fired from a handgun, but authorities have not elaborated nor said whether the officer was wearing a protective vest.

'I can tell you it's Manchester's policy that their officers are provided with vests,' Strelzin said. 'That's all I'll say on it at this time.'

Dale Vincent, New Hampshire Union Leader, contributed to this article.

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