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AG says January Mont Vernon police shooting justified

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 25. 2013 9:59PM

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has ruled that Mont Vernon police Sgt. Aaron Daigneault was justified when he shot Geoffrey Bidwell during a confrontation in January at a Pond Road home.

A report released Thursday indicated that Bidwell, after a jolt from a Taser failed to immobilize him, picked up a piece of firewood and advanced toward Daigneault, prompting the officer to shoot him. The report provides the first glimpse of details - including naming Daigneault as the shooter - into an incident about which authorities have been tight-lipped for months.

Bidwell, who was 42 at the time, was not killed, Police Chief Kyle Aspinwall said Thursday night. He was taken to a hospital in Massachusetts, where he was treated for his injuries.

"The investigation has revealed that Geoffrey Bidwell's actions and course of conduct on Jan. 6, 2013, created a situation where Sergeant Aaron Daigneault reasonably believed that he was in danger of death or serious bodily injury when Geoffrey Bidwell took a large firewood log and advanced toward Sergeant Daigneault in a threatening manner," the report said.

The report said Bidwell was intoxicated and suicidal when Daigneault responded to the 15 Pond Road home of Bidwell's father, Augustus "Gus" Bidwell. The elder Bidwell reported that his son had a knife when he called 911, the report said.

The report said Bidwell put down the knife, but kept screaming that he wanted Daigneault to kill him.

"Gus heard Sergeant Daigneault tell Geoffrey that he did not want to have to shoot or hurt him, but Geoffrey kept telling Sergeant Daigneault that he wanted the sergeant to shoot him," the report said.

Daigneault "backpedaled" into an office area of the home from the kitchen and fired his stun gun at Bidwell, but the weapon did not connect and had no effect, the report said. Bidwell then picked up a piece of firewood that "weighed approximately six or seven pounds," the report said.

"At that point, based on all of his interactions with Geoffrey and his observations of his behavior, Sergeant Daigneault concluded that Geoffrey was going to use the piece of wood as a weapon and assault him. It was only after that action by Geoffrey Bidwell, that Sergeant Daigneault used deadly force and fired his gun at Bidwell," the report said.

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