Michael P. Nolan led his life largely out of sight. He was 47 years old and had always lived with his family.
He burst violently into the consciousness of Brentwood, N.H., and into the news this week when he reportedly shot and killed a town police officer during a domestic violence call that ended in an explosive fire.
His body was found Monday after authorities said he gunned down Officer Steve Arkell as soon as the part-time policeman entered the Mill Pond Road duplex the man shared with his father, Walter.
“He led a pretty sheltered life,” said Michael Nolan’s aunt, Patricia Nolan, who lives in Malden.
Investigators found Nolan’s body amid rubble in the garage of the home, which was destroyed in a fire and explosion that followed the shooting. Authorities completed an autopsy on Nolan on Tuesday, but the cause and manner of death have not been determined, said the office of New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster.
Nolan’s father — 86-year-old Walter T. Nolan, a World War II veteran and retired engineer who worked for General Electric — survived the ordeal.
Police had never before been called to Nolan’s home, which is in a community for residents 55 and older, and Michael Nolan had no criminal record, investigators said.
Patricia Nolan said her nephew was the youngest of Walter and Elizabeth Nolan’s six children. His mother was deeply protective of her youngest child, Patricia Nolan said.
“She wouldn’t discuss it with anyone,” Nolan said. “It was her son, and she let everyone know it was her son and her responsibility and nobody’s else’s business.” Elizabeth Nolan died in 2012 at age 82, according to an obituary.
Michael Nolan had a daughter, who lived with him and his parents at one time, Patricia Nolan said. She said his parents had him in mind when they moved to Brentwood.
“I think they wanted a place for Michael,” she said. “They’re a wonderful family. I’m having a hard time adjusting to what’s going on.”
Meanwhile, people in New Hampshire continued to mourn Arkell, who made his mark as an officer, carpenter, and lacrosse coach. A wake is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Exeter High School, according to the school system. A memorial service is set for 10 a.m., Wednesday at the high school’s William Ball Stadium. All classes, afterschool events, and athletics at the school have been canceled that day.
Arkell was an assistant coach for the girls’ lacrosse team at Exeter High. His daughters, a senior and a freshman, play on the team.
The Portsmouth High School girls’ lacrosse team is planning a fund-raiser during its May 21 game to support Arkell’s family. The team plans to donate proceeds from a concession stand to the family, said Strider Sulley, an organizer.