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Somerville Street shooting victim: 'I thought I was going to die'

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 17. 2013 9:58AM

MANCHESTER — A city woman was recovering Tuesday from a bullet wound to her left leg, a wound police attributed to a stranger who claims he is a former military man suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Police say Thomas Landry, 25, of 759 Somerville St., shot Josephine Otim as she sat in the passenger seat of a car on Somerville Street when the driver slowed down to let Landry cross the street.

He is accused of reaching through the driver-side window and shooting Otim, a mother of a 7-year-old. Otim had just finished a double shift in a Bedford nursing home.

Police said they have no motive for the shooting and Landry does not appear to know the two women in the car, although they recently moved to an apartment in his block.

The shooting took place around 11 p.m. Monday, about a block west of where they live.

"He stayed right in front of us, did not say a word and started shooting," Otim said Tuesday from her Elliot Hospital bed. "I thought I was going to die. I thought that was it, he was going to shoot me in the head."

Rather, the driver of the car — Otim's roommate, Shaqwanna Allen, 23 — drove off and headed toward The Elliot at River's Edge on Queen City Avenue. At the behest of police, Allen stopped at the 7-Eleven at Queen City and Brown avenues instead, where police applied a tourniquet to Otim, she said.

Police found Landry hiding in the 700-block of Somerville Street, according to affidavits filed in Manchester District Court.

Unable to locate his 19-year-old girlfriend, they searched the apartment Landry shares with his mother and peppered him with questions.

He grew upset and started shouting at police, the court records say. His behavior was disruptive enough to draw residents and customers of local businesses into the street.

When arrested, Landry told police he suffers from PTSD after multiple military deployments, police said.

Police said they found a leather and plastic holster in the area, and in Landry's apartment they said they found a magazine for a Sig Sauer .40-caliber.

On the street, they found a .40 caliber shell casing. The gun, however, remains missing, police said.

After Landry's arrest, police found his girlfriend, Elizabeth Webber, who said Landry had consumed three drinks at a Wilson Street bar.

Upon leaving the bar, she said, he started arguing with an elderly woman about kids breaking into cars, and then with a group of young men, whom he accused of breaking into cars.

"Ms. Webber reported that Mr Landry was acting upset, and she believed he was having a PTSD episode," police reported. "Ms. Webber also reported that Mr. Landry had a handgun with him when they went out, and that he carried it in a holster in the small of his back," the police affidavit reads.

Webber said she saw him approach a car, draw his handgun from the holster, point it at the occupants and fire it once, police said.

Police said the shooting happened around 11 p.m. Monday on Somerville Street, near the fire station at Hall Street.

On Tuesday afternoon, Otim was using crutches to walk, pain ricochetting across her face as she took baby steps from her hospital bathroom to her bed.

She said the bullet went through her leg just below the knee. Luckily, it did not hit bone.

A Sudanese native, Otim became a U.S. citizen on July 4, she said. She wonders why someone with a PTSD diagnosis owns a gun.

"If he can break down, why would he have a gun on him?" Otim said. She's known war too, in the Sudan, she said.

"That doesn't give you the right to stand on a street and shoot someone. You get the help you need," she said. "My 7-year-old could have no mother today."

Landry appeared in court Tuesday morning, where his bail was set at $50,000 cash or surety. He could enter no plea on the felony charges of first-degree assault, criminal threatening and reckless conduct.

A probable cause hearing on the felonies and a status hearing on a disorderly conduct charge were set for July 30.

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

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