By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – One student died in a shooting at the Second Start Alternative High School in Concord on Wednesday morning in an apparent suicide.
No other students, faculty or staff members were physically harmed, according to Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.
He said the incident at 450 North State St. has been contained. It occurred at about 10 a.m. and brought a heavy police presence to an area in West Concord near the intersection of North State Street and Lake Street, just north of the New Hampshire State Prison for Men.
Second Start’s Executive Director Jim Snodgrass released a statement saying counselors will be available for students and staff.
“Today, tragedy struck our beloved school at 450 North State Street. One of our students suddenly and unexpectedly took their own life. We are shocked and saddened beyond words,” Snodgrass said.
“We will face the coming days by supporting each other and we will have counselors available for our students and staff. We will communicate directly with our school community as to what the next steps will be moving forward,” Snodgrass said.
Matthew Hillsgrove, who lives across the street from the school and was once a student there, said he heard his dogs begin to bark at about 10 a.m. and quickly saw a large police presence and an ambulance with a stretcher brought out. The stretcher was placed back in the ambulance and then left, Hillsgrove said.
A group of students and staff were then led out of the building and moved to a nearby building, witnesses said. Soon after, the Attorney General’s Office staff, including Deputy Attorney General Jane Young, entered the building, which was once the Fisherville Fire Station.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced just before the Executive Council meeting at the State House was to begin that there was an “incident” that he had to deal with and was meeting with the Attorney General’s Office, delaying the start of the meeting for an hour.
Sununu said the state was in “close contact with local law enforcement” involved in the matter.
“I have spoken with Police Chief (Bradley) Osgood and informed him all state resources are at the Concord Police Department’s disposal. The state will remain on the scene and investigate the situation. I would like to thank the first responders who were on the scene immediately.”
According to its website, Second Start has an enrollment of about 32 adolescent students from the region who have previously been unable to succeed in a traditional high school setting.
“The Alternative Program is based on the belief that some students need a small, structured, and highly individualized school setting in which to make academic and personal progress.
“Many of these students have been
identified as having learning and/or emotional handicaps that have interfered
with their functioning effectively in a previous educational setting,”
according to the school’s website.
The school has been in existence at that location since 1979.