A New Hampshire grandmother was shot and killed by state police Monday after leading troopers on a high-speed car chase, according to NBC affiliate WHDH in Boston.
Wendy Lawrence, 45, of Canterbury, N.H., was struck by gunfire four times by a state trooper, officials with the state attorney general’s office said. Authorities determined the cause of death was a single gunshot to the chest.
Authorities said a New Hampshire State Police trooper stopped a Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was being operated “erratically” on a southbound highway at roughly 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to a statement from Jeffery A. Strelzin, the senior assistant state attorney general.
After the trooper asked to see Lawrence’s license, she showed him a non-driver’s ID. When the trooper took the ID back to his cruiser to check Lawrence’s record, he discovered she was a habitual offender and that her license was suspended, according to the statement.
That’s when Lawrence suddenly took off in her vehicle, speeding southbound toward Concord, N.H., the statement said.
After launching and then suspending a brief pursuit in his cruiser, the report said the the trooper then came upon Lawrence’s car idling sideways on an inter-state road. Lawrence then sped away, nearly striking a person who was on the highway.
Multiple state police troopers aided in trying to apprehend Lawrence, following her to an interstate in Manchester, N.H. It was there that a trooper discharged his weapon, fatally wounding Lawrence.
It was not immediately clear what exactly prompted the trooper to fire his gun. Officials are investigating the circumstances surrounding Lawrence’s death.
She was later taken to Elliot Hospital in Manchester, where she was pronounced dead.
An autopsy conducted by the state’s chief medical examiner found that Lawrence had been struck by gunfire four times.
The family of Wendy Lawrence, a woman shot and killed by a New Hampshire state trooper in Manchester in 2013, has sued the trooper responsible for her death.
State Trooper Chad Lavoie fired 11 bullets through Lawrence’s windshield on Sep. 30, 2013 after Lawrence, 45, took off at a traffic stop and led police on a chase for several miles. Four of the bullets hit Lawrence, including a fatal shot to her chest.
Though Lavoie said Lawrence was driving toward him and the shots were in self defense, Lawrence’s family doesn’t believe the claim.
The attorney general’s report on the incident stated Lawrence had purposely driven into a cruiser and then backed into another, prompting Lavoie to get out of his car.
Lehmann questions this fact as well, saying footage taken from a trooper camera shows Lawrence’s car was stationary when cops caught up to her in Manchester.
“Trooper Lavoie acted differently than the other state troopers. He came in, blocked her in, got out of his car and started shooting. We believe that was unnecessary,” Lehmann said to WMUR-TV.
Officer Involved Shooting Incident in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday, September 30, 2013
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster, New Hampshire State Police Colonel Robert L. Quinn, and Manchester Police Chief David J. Mara, announce that further information is available regarding an investigation into a fatal officer involved shooting incident, which occurred on September 30, 2013.
At approximately 6:30 pm on Monday, September 30th, 2013, a New Hampshire State Police trooper stopped a Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was being driven erratically on I-89 southbound. The driver was Wendy M. Lawrence (age 45), of Canterbury, New Hampshire. Lawrence produced a non-driver’s ID and said she had a valid license. The trooper took Lawrence’s ID and went back to his cruiser to check on her license. He ran her record and confirmed that Lawrence was a Habitual Offender and that her license was under suspension. As the trooper was receiving those results, Lawrence suddenly drove off in her car speeding southbound toward Concord.
The trooper briefly pursued Lawrence and then broke off his pursuit. The trooper later came upon Lawrence’s car at the end of I-89 where he saw that the car was sideways in the road. As Lawrence drove away, she almost hit a person who was on the highway. Lawrence proceeded onto the I-93 southbound ramp and drove off at a high rate of speed down I-93.
Several State Police troopers assisted in trying to apprehend Lawrence and were behind her as she turned off I-93 into Manchester. Troopers in marked police cruisers followed Lawrence to the intersection of Dave Street and Kennard Road in Manchester, where the police attempted to stop Lawrence. It was at that location where a trooper discharged his firearm and fatally wounded Lawrence. She was later transported to the Elliot Hospital in Manchester where she was later pronounced dead. The circumstances that led to Lawrence being shot are currently under investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, the New Hampshire State Police, and the Manchester Police Department.
The State’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew, conducted an autopsy on Wendy Lawrence today and determined that she had been struck by gunfire four times. Her cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest. Her manner of death was homicide, meaning that her death was caused by another person.