An incident that began with a conversation about an electric bill at a gym in Salem, New Hampshire, ended a police officer firing a bullet.
The incident began when a worker with Liberty Utilities showed up at the Phantom Crossfit gym Tuesday morning and said he was there to shut down the power.
But the gym’s owner, Chris Bright, says he had recently worked out a payment plan with the company.
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“I gave him the form and at this point he said 'well this changes everything.' He said 'you come out here to threaten me?' I said 'what are you talking about, I’m just showing you the bill." And he says 'you have to bring a gun out here?' I said 'Dave, this gun’s been on me the entire time,'” Bright explained.
Bright has a license to carry, but the utility worker called police, and as officers arrived on the scene, Ray Shawdee, who owns the Jiu Jitsu academy inside the complex, happened to be walking to his car.
Bright says Shawdee had no part in the conversation with the utility worker.
“Ray had no idea what was going on, he had just finished working out, he wasn’t wearing any shoes, wasn’t wearing a shirt, he was just running out to his car to get something,” Bright said.
Bright says suddenly officers were yelling.
“I put my hands up to look at what was going on and I guess Ray kind of turned as well, and that's when a shot was fired from that vicinity and it came in and actually hit that squat stand right there.”
But police say as they set up a perimeter around the building, having heard there was a man inside with a gun, they say Shawdee refused to follow orders in the parking lot.
“The suspect got to his vehicle, and turned around quickly with his hands in front of him as if he was holding a gun," explained Lt. Joel Dolan. "One Salem officer fired one single round at the officer, which missed him."
Shawdee is charged with reckless conduct and criminal threatening. He told necn by phone he was very emotional and not ready to share his side of the story.
Bright says this all could have been avoided.
“It was just a series of miscommunication that all started with that one gentleman who was probably uncomfortable with the fact that I was wearing a weapon," Bright said.
The officer who fired the bullet is now on leave pending an internal investigation. That’s standard procedure in this type of incident.