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Greenfield postpones police chief search while stray bullet incident is investigated

Union Leader Correspondent

October 10. 2017 8:44PM
Greenfield Selectman Stephen Atherton says he has apologized to town police Sgt. Glenn Roberge for possibly shooting a bullet through his home window. (Meghan Pierce/Correspondent)

GREENFIELD — Selectmen agreed Tuesday to postpone their search for a new police chief while state police investigate a stray bullet that might have been shot by a member of the Greenfield Board of Selectmen and that pierced a window in a local police officer’s house.

Police Chief Brian Giammarino resigned this summer but agreed to stay on while the board found his replacement.

Without referring to the incident during the Tuesday night meeting, Selectmen Chairman Margaret Charig Bliss, Selectman Robert Marshall and Selectman Stephen Atherton agreed to postpone the police chief search for the time being.

Atherton said after the meeting that he has been interviewed by a state police trooper regarding the incident in which a stray bullet went through a window of Greenfield police Sgt. Glenn Roberge’s home on the afternoon of Oct. 1.

Atherton was shooting on a family property on Forrest Road that afternoon with a couple of other people. The family uses it for shooting and has a target area with a berm, but Atherton said he is seriously considering not using the target area again.

Atherton said he was using a semi-automatic small caliber handgun. Other people that afternoon were using hunting rifles. At first state police asked if anyone was shooting with a 9 mm, but later corrected that and said the bullet came from a 380 caliber handgun, Atherton said.

“Glenn is an excellent officer. He’s an asset to this town in every way, and the idea that — through no intention of my own — came as close as I did to injuring him, or worse, makes me sick to my stomach, and I can’t express how disgusted with myself and how sorry I am about the incident,” Atherton said. “No matter how comfortable you are with firearms and no matter how well you know your shooting area, accidents can happen and we were incredibly fortunate that the window was the extent of the damage. … One of the troopers said it was an act of God.”

Atherton said he has apologized to Roberge, whose home is across the street form the shooting property.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but once I spoke with Glenn and sat down and had a chuckle about it,” he said, they talked about it and Atherton told him he will pay to replace the window.

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