scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Police knew suspect was armed before fatal raid in N.H.

Cullen Mutrie was investigated before.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - Police were aware that Cullen Mutrie might be armed and even watching them through surveillance cameras when they stormed his Greenland home Thursday night to search for cocaine and other drugs, according to court documents released Tuesday.

The drug raid, however, quickly erupted into gunfire that left the local police chief dead and four officers injured. Mutrie, 29, later apparently killed his girlfriend, Brittany Tibbetts, and then shot himself in the head.

The court documents, including a search warrant application and affidavit, were released at the request of the state attorney general and provide the first details of the events that led to the deadly shooting that has shaken this small town. Burial services for Police Chief Michael Maloney, who was killed just days before he was due to retire, are scheduled Thursday at Winnacunnet High School in nearby Hampton.


Police officers stood last week near the scene of the shooting that killed the police chief in Greenland, N.H. The alleged gunman apparently killed himself and his girlfriend.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

A note attached to the warrant application, written by the judge who approved the search, indicated that police sought a no-knock warrant “due to the nature of the contraband sought to be seized, cameras installed around his residence, and possible weapons.’’

The documents also cited a Greenland police officer who told the police chief that a source said Mutrie usually has a firearm with him, under the front seat of his car or strapped to his ankle.

What remained unclear Tuesday was what went horribly wrong last week. The attorney general’s office has declined to disclose details about the shooting and what protective measures or training were provided to the officers involved.

“The investigation is ongoing,’’ said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young. “We have to get a clearer picture.’’

The warrant and affidavit had been sealed as a matter of course prior to the search to prevent contraband from being removed from the home.

Other documents released Tuesday show police were seeking to arrest Tibbetts, who they believed was involved in the sale of drugs. Tibbetts, a 26-year-old cosmetologist and former high school softball standout, was found inside Mutrie’s home with a gunshot wound to her head.


Mutrie’s mother, Beverly, reached on Tuesday at her store, Hampton Copy, in Hampton, N.H., declined comment on the new information provided by the documents.

Lennie Tibbetts, the father of Brittany Tibbetts, said he was shocked to learn that his daughter had been the subject of a drug investigation.

“She was not brought up like that,’’ said Tibbetts, an excavation contractor who lives in Berwick, Maine. “She was with the wrong person at the wrong time.’’

He said he was not aware of his daughter’s alleged involvement with drugs. “I didn’t know about her being on them,’’ he said, “but a daddy’s the last to know.’’

Whatever police alleged his daughter had been involved in “was not worth lives,’’ Tibbett said. “I’m sorry for everything that happened.’’

The white cape at 517 Post Road in Greenland, the site of the deadly scene, was cleared Tuesday of police investigators. Plywood covered windows, and an empty flower pot dangled from the porch roof.

Mutrie had lived at the house since 2006; his father had bought it for him. Mutrie, a former volunteer firefighter, had prior police encounters, including a 2006 arrest in Portsmouth on accusations of punching a bouncer in the head.

In the affidavit, dated April 9, an undercover investigator for the New Hampshire attorney general’s Drug Task Force said police began investigating drug activity at the house in July 2010.


The Globe previously reported that police officers had visited the house that month when Mutrie’s girlfriend at the time said she wanted a restraining order issued and told them that Mutrie kept at least five guns in his home, in his car, and on his body, according to police records.

Inside the home, police found vials containing powders and liquid labeled with the names of anabolic steroids, along with a scale. Returning with a warrant, police found guns and ammunition and confiscated the substances, which the state crime lab later confirmed to be anabolic steroids. Mutrie agreed to turn his guns over to police, according to a report filed by Officer Wayne M. Young. Mutrie was found guilty of assault at Portsmouth District Court and given a suspended sentence and ordered to submit to an anger-management evaluation. He appealed that decision; a hearing was scheduled for June.

The drug case, for which Mutrie was out on $10,000 bail, was scheduled for trial in September.

According to the affidavit released yesterday, in February 2011, neighbors complained to police of cars coming and going, which led them to believe Mutrie was dealing drugs out of the house.

In one instance, “they heard Mutrie yell into the phone, ‘How much an ounce.’ ’’ After making this statement, Mutrie looked around and reentered his residence,’’ the affidavit states.

In September of that year, police discovered a “significant number of packages’’ being delivered to the house. The return address listed “Curtis Mutrie’’ of “Lauderdale.’’ “Mailers of controlled substances usually indicate a fictitious return address or name on packages in order to hide their true identity from law enforcement,’’ the affidavit states.


On Jan. 29, 2012, the investigator met with a confidential source who said Mutrie and his girlfriend were dealing upwards of 500 oxycodone pills every few days out of his house.

That week, drug task force agents and detectives used the confidential source to arrange a purchase of 30 milligrams of oxycodone hydrochloride pills from Mutrie and his girlfriend for $250. That same day the confidential source bought the pills from Brittany Tibbetts, the documents said.

On March 27, undercover detectives watched the house and saw cars coming and going. Several cars were registered to people who had been charged with drug transportation or possession.

Based on that information, the undercover investigator said a search warrant was needed to look for the drugs at the house.

A wake for Maloney will be held Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Remick and Gendron Funeral Home in Hampton. The memorial service is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Sarah Schweitzer can be reached at