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Gun threat at Manchester library prompts call to police

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 22. 2013 9:25PM

MANCHESTER — A regular patron at the city's main library became upset Thursday when told he needed a library card to do business and threatened to return and shoot a library clerk, police and library officials said.

"He was rambling and got upset with the staff and went to sit down at the main desk and return and shoot the staff member," library Director Denise van Zanten said.

No weapon was shown and no one was hurt in the incident that happened about noon at the 405 Pine St. main library, van Zanten said. The man left on his own with few, if any, other patrons aware of what happened.

"The threat was taken seriously by library staff. Our security officer immediately contacted the Manchester police," van Zanten said.

Officers arrived to find the man driving away in a car, which they pulled over about four blocks away.

Police found no weapon on the man or in the car, Police Lt. Maureen Tessier said. He was released.

Police did not charge the man because a verbal threat not witnessed by police is a misdemeanor-level offense, Tessier said. Should police press charges, they would obtain an arrest warrant, she said.

Tessier would not identify the patron, saying the investigation is ongoing and charges are possible.

The patron was upset "because he could not make a transaction without his library card," Tessier said.

Two clerks were working at the main desk at the time the patron made the threat, van Zanten said.

"I don't think this was aimed at any particular staff member," she added.

The patron was ordered to not trespass at either the main library or the West Side branch, van Zanten said.

Library operations were not interrupted.

"My staff is well trained in security measures and they did exactly what they were supposed to do...I'm very proud of them," van Zanten said.

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