Claremont man arraigned on weapons charges from seven-hour standoff

  • A police officer asks onlookers and family members to move out of sight from a man on a third-story porch in a nearby building in Claremont, N.H., on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/2/2020 9:38:58 PM
Modified: 9/2/2020 9:38:51 PM

NEWPORT — A Claremont man accused of pointing a gun at his mother, instigating a seven-hour standoff with police last week, has been arraigned on weapons charges.

Arnulfo Urista, 33, pleaded not guilty in Sullivan Superior Court on Monday to charges of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, according to Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway. He was ordered held without bail and ordered not to have contact or go within 300 feet of his mother, Nancy Urista, according to a bail order.

The charges stem from an incident last Thursday at an apartment Urista shares with his mother on North Street in Claremont, according to an affidavit written by Claremont police Officer Denis O’Sullivan.

That morning, Arnulfo Urista came out of his room in the apartment, holding a handgun in a manner that indicated he might shoot himself, Nancy Urista told police. After she told him to put the gun away, Arnulfo Urista went back to his room and got a rifle, which he began loading in the kitchen, according to the affidavit.

Arnulfo Urista then waved the gun in the air for around 10 minutes and pointed the gun at her chest and held it there for around a minute, the affidavit said. Once Nancy Urista convinced Arnulfo Urista to put the gun down, she went upstairs to a neighbor’s apartment and the neighbor called police, the affidavit said.

Nancy Urista later told officers that her son had been having a mental health crisis for months and that she was scared to sleep at night “in fear that (Arnulfo) Urista might shoot her,” according to the affidavit.

Claremont police and New Hampshire State Police went to the house and spoke with Arnulfo Urista, who was standing on a back porch balcony, the affidavit said.

For seven hours, police negotiated with Arnulfo Urista, asking him to come downstairs and offering to get him mental health treatment. After speaking with officers inside the apartment, Arnulfo Urista finally agreed around 5 p.m. and he was taken to Valley Regional Hospital for a mental health evaluation, according to the affidavit.

This is the second standoff in Claremont in a little over a year. On Aug. 15, 2019, Michael Burns was arrested by Claremont police after a seven-hour armed standoff at an apartment near Centennial and Hanover streets, a little more than a block away from the Uristas’ North Street apartment.

During the standoff last year, police said Burns fired more than 100 shots before being arrested on charges of assault and reckless conduct. Burns, who is being held at Sullivan County Jail, was found not competent to stand trial in the spring, though a forensic evaluator said he could be restored to competency within a year, if given the proper treatment.

Anna Merriman can be reached at or 603-727-3216.

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