Sheriff memorializes former officer killed in NH hospital shooting
|Published: 11-21-2023 2:52 AM
Merrimack County Sheriff David Croft and Bradley Haas were once professional neighbors.
Croft was the police chief in Boscawen, while Haas was the chief over in Franklin, the state’s smallest city.
They didn’t socialize outside of work, but their jobs brought them together, allowing Croft to get a sense of the man who died in the line of duty Friday.
“He never, ever had a negative thing to say about anyone,” Craft said Monday. “He always had a positive attitude.”
Two vigils were held Monday night to honor Haas, the security guard at New Hampshire Hospital who was shot and killed late Friday afternoon while at his post in the facility’s lobby. One was held at the Franklin Elks Club, the other at the soccer field at the corner of South Fruit and Clinton streets, near the state’s psychiatric hospital campus.
The gunman, a transient named John Madore, was shot and killed by a state trooper, who was part of the two-man team charged with protecting the hospital, its staff and patients. The trooper’s name has not yet been released.
Croft and Haas developed a mutual respect as the bosses of the departments in the two neighboring communities.
“I was there for almost the same time he was employed in Franklin,” Croft said. “I saw him go from a patrol officer to when he made chief. He was a true hero, a public servant. I don’t know what happened that day, but I believe whatever action he took saved lives, and that is the definition of a true hero.”
Haas served in the Army, working as a military police officer for three years. He worked for the Franklin Police Department for 28 years, and then, instead of retiring, took a job protecting the New Hampshire Hospital, where patients with acute mental illness are treated.
Croft began his career with the Boscawen Police Department in the mid 1980s and was chief for 12 years. His role as Merrimack County sheriff is an elected position, and he’s serving his second term.
Sometimes, as police officers, Haas and Croft went several weeks without seeing each other. Other times, though, they’d run into each other more than once a week, at crime scenes or community events.
“We’d talk about family on the side of the road, had coffee and exchanged how things were going,” Croft said. “We had bordering communities, so we would back each other up. I was a lone-wolf in Boscawen and if I needed backup, Franklin would come. We both went to Franklin Circuit Court. The law enforcement community is small. We’d see each other at training and chief meetings.”
Croft said Attorney General John Formella described Haas’s importance well at a press conference on Saturday.
“Chief Haas was already a hero when he walked into (work Friday), given his service to our country, to our state and to his community,” Formella said. “He will now be remembered forever as a man who died protecting patients, staff and visitors at New Hampshire Hospital, so we cannot say enough how grateful we are to him for his service.”
Franklin has been in the news a lot lately.
Last week, the smell of gasoline on Central Street in Franklin forced the evacuation of nearby buildings, closing them for 24 hours.
Late Sunday night, Franklin police and other law enforcement agencies responded to a call saying that a man had barricaded himself inside a house on West Bow Street. The unidentified man was shot and killed by police after an armed standoff.
And earlier this month, Franklin police alleged that John Duchesne shot his brother-in-law, John Santos, during a family dispute. Santos’s mother and brother said John Santos was hit five times and is paralyzed from the waist down.
Haas’s job at New Hampshire Hospital was to make sure anyone entering the facility surrendered any potentially dangerous items. He worked at the door to the lobby and greeted visitors as they arrived.
“He was happy if he knew he could help someone out each day,” Croft said.