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Dalton investigation concludes man opened fire without warning on housemates before turning gun on himself

New Hampshire Union Leader
August 24. 2013 11:39AM

DALTON - An investigation lasting more than a year has concluded that a triple shooting on April 12, 2012, was a murder-suicide, with a third man surviving a gunshot wound to the face.

According to the sole survivor, Wayne Ainsworth, who was 54 at the time, there were no warning signs boarder Christopher Smith, 44, would turn violent.

At the time of the shooting, Ainsworth was married to Joseph Besk, 48, and they shared a modular home at 643 Whitefield Road. Smith, a former boyfriend of Ainsworth's, had been living at the residence for several months.

On the day of the shootings, soon after he woke, Ainsworth told investigators Smith asked him how he was and then shot him without warning.

Smith then turned the .357 magnum on Besk, who died from a gunshot wound to the back, according to Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie V. Duval.

An autopsy performed by Chief Medical Examiner Thomas A. Andrew on Smith ruled his death a suicide.

Police arrived at the scene about 1:15 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2012, and were met by Ainsworth.

"The first responding officer, Officer Antoin Alba of the Dalton Police Department, encountered Wayne Ainsworth at the door of the residence, who had an apparent gunshot wound to his neck," the report states. "Mr. Ainsworth reported in substance that two dead men were inside the home."

A .357 with five expended rounds and one unfired round was found next to Smith. Both Smith and Besk were already dead when police arrived.

Ainsworth, who was hospitalized for several weeks following the shooting, was unable to provide any reason for Smith's conduct. There had been no recent argument between any of the occupants of the residence, he told investigators. The autopsies and investigation supported information provided by Ainsworth.

"Physical evidence found at the crime scene, as well as observations of the scene, were consistent with Mr. Ainsworth's account of events, to wit, shootings with no apparent attendant signs of violence or struggle," the report states. "A close friend of Mr. Smith spoke with him on the telephone on the morning of the shooting and reported to investigators that he did not notice anything unusual or out of place, either in what Mr. Smith said or in how he spoke."

With the shooter dead, the matter will be closed without further investigation, the attorney general reported.

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