AG says Rochester fatal shooting was justified
CONCORD — The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office Thursday said that no charges would be brought against Robert Crichton, 39, of Rochester, in the May 4 shooting death of Richard Dumont, 37, also of Rochester.
The investigation by the AG's Office and Rochester police resulted in a ruling the shooting was a justified use of deadly force.
The AG said the two men were longtime friends and co-workers at a plumbing company. The AG's report says that Dumont, who was drunk and had varying amounts of nine drugs in his system, including Xanax, Wellbutrin and Zoloft that were prescribed for him, had been angered by Crichton's failure to respond to repeated cell phone calls that night because Dumont wanted Crichton to go out drinking with him.
Crichton had been working on his parents' furnace and as he left the house to go get another tool at about 9:45 p.m., Dumont was waiting for him angry about the unanswered phone calls.
Crichton was giving Dumont a ride when he said Dumont got out of the vehicle at Sylvain and Washington streets and began shouting at him, kicking the car, hitting him in the head and trying to pull him out of the car through the window. Crichton had sustained a neck injury as a youth that meant he could not be hit in the head without suffering further major injury.
Crichton told police that he tried to scare off Dumont by reaching for a gun that Dumont knew he kept in the car, but Dumont's anger increased, so Crichton fired one shot that lodged in the door. That didn't stop Dumont, who was leaning into the car, so Crichton fired another shot, which entered Dumont's chest and penetrated his heart.
Police said witnesses reported hearing the argument and hearing two shots. Evidence showed dents in the car and Dumont's boot print on the driver's door.
The first 911 caller, at 10:06 p.m., reported an altercation between one man inside and one man outside a car, with yelling about a phone, and the man outside (Dumont) leaning in. The caller said he heard popping sounds.
The second 911 caller was Crichton, who told the operator: “I tried to make him go away. I tried to do everything.” Then, “He's taking breaths still. Christ, hurry up and get an ambulance please!”
Asked about his own condition, Crichton said: “I don't care about me, just save him!”
The 14-page reports says interviews with people in the area confirmed yelling and gunshots, but none saw the actual shooting.
Crichton's girlfriend said Dumont was heavily intoxicated when stopped at her house at about 9:30 that night, asking where Crichton was. She told him Crichton was at his parents' house working on the boiler.
Crichton's brother, Ian, said Dumont called him about 6:10 that night, looking for a ride, saying he had been arguing with his girlfriend and didn't want to go home. Ian picked up Richard and his friend, Corey, and dropped them and their open 12-pack of beer on Jackson Street. Dumont's friend told investigators they continued to drink beer, played pool and then went to Cumberland Farms to buy food for the next day at around 9 or 9:30 p.m. Corey said Dumont said he was going to walk to Crighton's house and the pair split up.
Investigators said people who knew both men described Crichton as "mellow," but careless with guns, and described Dumont as a "hothead" and "bipolar," but nobody provided information about animosity between the two men that could account for Dumont's assault on Crichton or Crichton's motive for shooting Dumont, other than in self-defense.
As for criminal records, Crichton had two convictions: one for driving after suspension and one for carrying a weapon without a license. Dumont's record included 20 convictions: seven simple assault, three for resisting arrest or detention, one harassment, four for criminal mischief, one obstructing the report of a crime or injury, one theft, one habitual offender, one DWI, and one driving after revocation.