THERE WAS NATIONWIDE COVERAGE this week given to the tragic event in New Hampshire where a police chief was killed and four other officers wounded in a botched attempt to serve a search warrant. The raid was aimed at ridding the town of what the police called "a menace," referring to the culprit Cullen Mutrie.
When the operation was wrapped up, the police found Mutrie and his girlfriend both dead from apparent suicides or murder/suicide. While the news was rightly focused on the tragedy of the police officers, we would learn a few things if we take a look at the drug dealer, Cullen Mutrie.
For the past several years, despite his growing criminal record, Mutrie was serving as a volunteer firefighter and had hopes to become a paid firefighter on a New Hampshire department.
2006 mug shot Portsmouth NH police
His criminal history begins in 2003 when he had a violent confrontation with a former girlfriend who had get a court protective order against him. WMUR-TV posts:
(She) claimed Mutrie, "forcefully grabbed me, choked me and pulled my hair … as well as pushed me down several times." The woman also said Mutrie was "threatening," was "prone to jealous rages" and indicated he had guns and knives in his possession.
On Dec. 12, 2003, she accused Mutrie of calling her, "intoxicated in a rage, asking where I was and verbally abusing me. I then woke up on Dec. 13 to find two of my car tires slashed," she wrote, "I am very scared of him because of our history and his explosive behavior and past history of violence."
In 2005 he applied for a gun license and was denied "due to his criminal background" according to court records.
In 2006 he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault following a fight with another man, but the next year he applied to the court to have the conviction dismissed and be permitted to have a trial on the charges. His reasoning was that he had been given poor legal advice from his lawyer to told him that a misdemeanor conviction would not prevent him from getting a job as a firefighter. He since found out that was not the case and wanted to get his record cleared. At the time he told the court he has been working as a volunteer firefighter for seven years and has been going to school nights and weekends "to get certified."
Hampton Falls Fire Chief Jay Lord said Mutrie was a volunteer firefighter from 2004 to July 2010. He said Mutrie was nice and polite and dreamed of a career in the fire service.
In 2010 he was arrested again for beating up another woman. He was ordered then to surrender any guns that he possessed, but the woman told police later that there were still several in the house. A report by Officer Wayne Young quoted the victim as saying Mutrie had "a few" guns in his bedroom, one in his vehicle, one in his living room and that he usually carried another one on his person. So local police went to Mutrie's home on July 24, 2010 to collect them. It was then that they found more contraband in his house and arrested him on drug charges again.
In February of this year the state drug lab sent more evidence of drug possesion and it was this week's raid that was based on this recent report.
On his Facebook page that was recently created (and is no longer posted) he claimed that he was currently working for the Hampton Falls FD and also studying "paramedicine" at a local community college.
Mutrie is at the far right in the above photo. He was 6'-2" and weighed 260 lbs.
There are several lessons in this relating to the necessity of background checks for firefighter and EMT applicants. Mutrie was obviously trying to construct a phony resume here, including a Linked In account. Just "surfing the web" does not equate to a bona fide investigation. And there is no excuse to avoid performing this function. Firegeezer has been preaching this for years, yet there are still hundreds of departments who skip this necessity. It's not enough that they are "nice and polite."
Thanks to Mark Donovan for research assistance.
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