A New Hampshire Hospital security officer was fatally shot Friday afternoon in the lobby of the state psychiatric facility, before a state trooper on the scene shot and killed the suspect, state officials said.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said 63-year-old Bradley Haas was guarding the hospital’s front entrance when he was shot. Before serving as a state security officer, Haas spent nearly three decades with the Franklin Police Department, including two years as its chief. He retired from the department in 2008, according to news reports.
State officials said the family of Haas, who also served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army, is requesting privacy.
Gov. Chris Sununu shared his condolences in a social media post Friday evening.
“Valerie and I extend our sincere condolences to the family of Department of Safety Security Officer Bradley Haas of Franklin, NH, who gave his life today protecting the patients & staff at New Hampshire Hospital,” Sununu wrote. “He will be remembered for his heroism and decades of public service.”
New Hampshire State Police Director Col. Mark Hall, in a press briefing Friday evening, said his agency’s dispatch received word of the shooting at 3:38 p.m. Friday.
While he emphasized the situation was contained and there is no ongoing risk to the public, Hall said the state police bomb squad was investigating a suspicious vehicle located on the hospital campus, though the attorney general’s office later said it was deemed to pose “no safety risk.”
Hall said the police investigation could potentially last for days.
“Although there will continue to be a law enforcement presence here for several hours as the investigation unfolds, it's important to note that there is no threat to the public, and there is no threat to the patients or staff at the hospital,” Hall said.
Earlier in the evening, before Haas’s identity was released, Hall said he received CPR on the scene before he was transported to nearby Concord Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Hall said the state trooper who shot the suspect was not injured.
Officials have not yet released the identity of the shooter or offered any potential motive for the attack. They are also declining to share the name of the state trooper involved in the shootings, citing protocol.
New Hampshire Hospital is the state psychiatric hospital, located on a campus with numerous other state government office buildings. The hospital, which cares for people with acute mental health conditions who are involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment, is now closed to visitors but remains open to patients, state health commissioner Lori Weaver said Friday evening. State records show 148 patients were admitted to the facility as of Friday.
The state has also set up a call center for families of New Hampshire Hospital patients, which can be reached at 603-271-3004.
“This is a difficult and unimaginable day for our employees and for our community,” Weaver said at a Friday media briefing. “We will continue to make resources available in the coming hours and days.”
Aerials of the hospital earlier Friday evening showed an active scene with numerous police cars. Concord police officers and deputies from the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department, along with state police, were at the scene. New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency set up a media center at a nearby athletic field.
The hospital facility is located in a sprawling complex of government buildings in a residential neighborhood close to downtown Concord and near major highways. Law enforcement closed off a road and directed traffic away from the facility during rush hour.
Susan Stearns, who heads the mental health advocacy group NAMI-New Hampshire, said along with those directly involved, her thoughts are with the hospital staff, first responders and families with loved ones at the hospital.
She said many Granite Staters are likely still grappling with the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, just weeks ago – including first responders who helped in the shooting’s aftermath.
“We’ve all been through this recently with the situation in Lewiston, which was in our backyards,” she said. “Many of us felt that was pretty traumatizing, being that close to home. I think obviously this is going to be traumatizing for folks.”While Stearns emphasized that there's a lot we still don't know about Friday's shooting, she cautioned against conflating acts of violence with mental illness, as can often happen in the aftermath of these incidents.
"The vast majority of people with mental illness – meaning one-fifth of individuals – are not violent and do not commit such acts," she said.
Stearns noted there are resources available 24/7 for anyone who needs help. People can call or text 833-710-6477 for New Hampshire’s Rapid Response Access Point, for help in a mental health or substance use crisis.
NHPR reporters Mara Hoplamazian and Paul Cuno-Booth contributed to this report.
This article was originally published on November 17, 2023.