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N.H. officer describes moment he was shot by suspect

CONCORD, N.H. — As the suspect he was pursuing wheeled on him, a Manchester police officer tried to stop and felt himself falling backwards as the first shot shattered his left shin bone, the officer said.

Officer Dan Doherty said more shots followed, piercing his legs and lower abdomen, as he lay on the ground with the gunman advancing to within 2 feet of him.

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Doherty testified Wednesday in the attempted murder trial of Myles Webster, 23. Prosecutors say that Webster shot Doherty five times as the officer closed in on him during a foot chase in March.

Webster’s lawyers say the case is one of mistaken identity.

Defense attorney Caroline Smith asked Doherty why he described Webster, a slender man, as heavyset during a brief emergency room interview with a Manchester police officer on the night of the shooting.

‘‘If he was wearing baggy clothing I would,’’ Doherty ­replied.

In opening statements, Smith said Manchester police deliberately did not show eyewitnesses a photo array and contaminated the case by releas­ing his booking photo ­before many witnesses were inter­viewed.

Doherty testified on the second day of the trial, which is ­expected to last two weeks.

He described feeling multiple shots enter his body and said he thought he had been hit in the face because the heat of the gun’s muzzle blast was so intense.

Doherty said he was able to return fire and force Webster to back away, but could not recall how many times he fired. His gun and bullet casings at the scene confirmed it was 10 times, but the shots went wide.

When asked by Smith whether he was trying to scramble backwards while on the ground, Doherty replied, ‘‘I was fighting for my life at that point.’’

Police apprehended Webster in the backyard of a nearby house, where they also found an empty Glock handgun on the ground.

Doherty — who first confronted Webster at an evidentiary hearing last month — said he underwent at least seven surgeries and has a titanium rod in his leg.

He testified in uniform, but said that he has not returned to work and that it is not clear when he will.

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