Shooting suspect pleads not guilty

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 10-11-2022 8:11 AM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A 25-year old Newport man who allegedly told witnesses “I am sorry” has been charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a Massachusetts workman at the Comfort Inn in White River Junction on Friday morning.

Nathan-Mikhail Fuller was charged with attempted murder in the second degree, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment in the shooting of Michael LaMotte, who remains hospitalized in the ICU at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center after Fuller allegedly shot LaMotte in the face shortly after he had emerged from his room to get breakfast, according to police.

Windham Superior Court Judge Katherine Hayes granted prosecutors’ request to hold Fuller, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, without bail in Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., during his arraignment on Monday afternoon.

Fuller was apprehended and taken into custody by Hartford police inside the hotel only a few minutes after he allegedly shot LaMotte near the elevator. He had been observed by hotel guests walking the hallways with a gun, according to an affidavit prepared by Hartford police officer Scott Moody in support of the charges.

The four-page affidavit describes a suspect exhibiting disturbing behavior in the period leading up to the alleged shooting attack and reports that two Upper Valley police departments were aware of his behavior and that Fuller was in possession of firearms.

The affidavit also indicates that Friday morning’s shooting incident, given the numbers of witnesses who had observed or encountered the suspect carrying a gun in the open around the hotel, could have turned out even more tragically than it did,

LaMotte, the victim, arrived at the Comfort Inn near Sykes Mountain Avenue on Thursday evening, part of a six-man work crew scheduled to begin laying down an artificial athletic turf field at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan on Friday.

The early Friday morning shooting left LaMotte’s coworkers, who ran out of their hotel rooms to render aid when they heard a gunshot in the hallway, stunned at what they said appeared to be a inexplicable act of violence committed by a stranger with whom none of them had had any prior contact, they told the Valley News last week.

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Fuller told police that he had taken a taxi from his address to White River Junction where video camera footage showed him arriving at the Comfort Inn at 3:50 a..m. and where he wanders the lobby area until the desk clerk arrives at 6:00 a.m. Fuller then checked into a room using a credit card, police investigators said.

According to the affidavit, Hartford police responded to a call at 6:29 a.m. of a “loud bang” at the Comfort Inn and a man lying on the fourth floor hallway with a gunshot wound to the face along with reports of a man seen in the hallways of the hotel with a gun.

Fuller was also seen by a witness near the elevator in the hotel lobby with a gun in his hand and saying “I am sorry,” the affidavit said.

Police first encountered Fuller on the third floor, where he showed his hands and said he didn’t have a gun and started to lie down on the floor, explaining he was “trying to get back to his room” when he got up and said he “was going back down to get a key.” Fuller began heading for the stairwell at the end of the hallway when the elevator door opened with a hotel guest inside who identified Fuller as the man with a gun.

Police then approached Fuller and apprehended him outside his room at 6:37 a.m. without incident; they recovered a semi-automatic handgun and pair of gloves in the hallway, according to the affidavit.

Numerous guests at the hotel who police interviewed later that morning said they had seen Fuller walking around the hotel with a gun, including one guest reporting that she witnessed a hotel employee telling Fuller when she saw him with the gun to put it away.

During transport to the police station and while in a holding cell Fuller made various comments to the police, such as “there is a problem in China,” “the Pope should be calling you,” “hi Joe Biden” and “when God tells you to do something you do it,” he was the “anti-Christ and had to take action” and that he went to the hotel and “shot somebody in the head for a good reason,” according to the affidavit.

Fuller then requested an attorney, police said.

Hartford police investigators report that Fuller had been exhibiting strange behavior in the days prior to the alleged shooting.

Newport police said that during a recent welfare check at Fuller’s last known address in Newport “he had made statements during his interview regarding mutilated bodies at his residence” and that a Newport police officer “had spoken to four separate individuals who advised that Fuller has been acting crazy for the past couple of weeks and using methamphetamine.”

The Newport officer “indicated that witnesses told him that Fuller ‘cleaned out his room yesterday and took his guns with him’ ” as Fuller told them he needed to “go take care of something from his past,” the affidavit said.

Hartford police also said that they received a copy of an April 8, 2022, incident report from the Claremont Police Department indicating that Fuller called the department to report that he is “going target shooting tomorrow afternoon. (Fuller) suspects the police will be called when he loads firearms into his vehicle at the Union Block,” according to the affidavit.

Police also interviewed the taxi driver who drove Fuller from Newport to White River Junction, who said that Fuller during the ride talked about “zombie type things (in Newport) with the only way to kill them being with radiation or nuclear beams.”

The taxi driver, police reported, “described the conversation with (Fuller) as one of the weirdest conversations he ever had in life.”

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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