Fremont man claims innocence, says he won't 'sit in jail'
FREMONT - A Fremont man wanted by police after they say he fled from an officer who tried to stop him for speeding last Sunday hasn't surrendered because he said he wasn't driving.
"I was not in that vehicle. I wasn't even in the same state. I'm not going to turn myself in and sit in jail for something I didn't do," Andrew Decoito told the New Hampshire Union Leader in a phone interview Wednesday.
Decoito, 22, of 166 Main St., is facing warrants for his arrest on charges stemming from the brief police pursuit that ended when the vehicle pulled into Decoito's driveway and then continued a short distance into a wooded area.
The driver, who police said they believe was Decoito, then fled the vehicle and ran into the woods, prompting a search by state and local police.
The pursuit came three months after Decoito was arrested in connection with a shooting outside his residence.
Police said Decoito was armed with an AR-15 rifle when he fired 30 rounds at a car occupied by a driver and three passengers on the night of Jan. 5.
At the time, Decoito said he and his girlfriend were at his home sleeping around 3 a.m. when four people forced the door open, barged into his room and asked for a jacket they thought he had. He said they had been at a party earlier and that a jacket turned up missing.
Decoito said that he and his girlfriend were then assaulted and that he suffered a concussion and a fractured nose and cheekbone.
Decoito, who is accused of punching one of the men, said he then went to grab for his rifle to defend himself, at which time the others fled to the car.
"I didn't know if they were getting a gun," he said.
Decoito said he went outside as they got into the car to take off.
"They were still on my property, and I made sure they left, and that was it," he said.
Decoito said that he began firing as soon as the last person got into the vehicle. Police said the car was hit, but no one was injured. Decoito said he never intended to hurt anyone with his rifle.
"It's ridiculous. If I wanted them dead, they would have been dead right there. It was a warning," he said. "I didn't go knocking on somebody's door at 3 a.m. with four people."
Acting Police Chief Denny Wood said the other individuals involved in the incident were charged with burglary.
Decoito said he hasn't lived at his house since the shooting.
Meanwhile, Decoito said he is not a danger to the public. He said police are accusing him of fleeing Sunday's traffic stop because of a "personal vendetta."
He said he was babysitting at the time. When asked if he knows who was driving, he answered, "I have a good idea, but I'm not saying."
Wood said that as of Wednesday night, Decoito had not turned himself in.
Decoito is being charged with reckless operation, two counts of disobeying a police officer, resisting arrest, failure to yield at a stop sign, driving after revocation or suspension, breach of bail conditions, and speeding.
At one point during the interview with the Union Leader, Decoito said he would talk to Wood about surrendering, though he maintained he is innocent of the charges.