State and local officials in Brentwood, N.H, on Tuesday said that Officer Steve Arkell was likely shot and killed before the home went up in flames and then exploded.
WHDH reported that the explosion was “likely intentional.”
A press conference on Tuesday provided a bit of context to the early stages of the investigation into the events that led to Arkell’s death and the explosion of a home that claimed the life of Michael Nolan, 47. Nolan’s remains were found in the rubble of what was formerly one of the home’s garages.
New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Jane Young, who presided over the bulk of the press conference, provided a veritable blow-by-blow account of what law enforcement believes to have happened at 46 Mill Pond Road.
Young, who is also Bureau Chief of the Criminal Justice Bureau, said that according to neighbors there was an indication that there was arguing in the home before police were called there.
When Arkell arrived on the scene at approximately 4:10 p.m. and was given permission to enter the premises, neighbors reported hearing “three volleys of gunfire” almost immediately, according to Young.
Another officer, who heard reports of gunshots on his police radio scanner, was dispatched. Upon entering the home, the officer noticed that a wall had been sprayed with bullets and saw Officer Arkell lying on the floor with fatal gunshot wounds.
That officer was met with gunfire that drove him from the front of the house to the back, where he was able to escape unscathed, Young said.
Young said that they are treating Arkell’s death as a homicide and that autopsies are being conducted on both bodies to make further determinations.
Arkell was with the department for 15 years, according to Brentwood Police Chief Wayne M. Robinson.
It is still unclear what exactly caused the fire and subsequent explosion, but Young noted that propane is the heating and cooking source for the residents of Mill Pond Crossing, an over 55 community.
Young said that results of the autopsies will be released when they are completed.
There will be a candlelight vigil held in Arkell honor 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the Brentwood Recration Center.