NASHUA, N.H. — A man with a history of arrests on drug charges went on a shooting rampage in two communities, killing three men and critically wounding two before police shot him fatally, authorities said Thursday.
Three of the shootings occurred in a neighborhood where one resident said drugs are sold "all hours of the night."
Rafael Rodriguez, 38, was shot by an officer Wednesday night after shooting twice at the officer at a gasoline station, police said. Police said Rodriguez was putting gasoline in a car after driving from Nashua to Londonderry and back and shooting each of five men once in the head with a revolver.
Nashua Police Chief William Quigley said the shootings were apparently drug-related but he could not specify a motive.
Quigley said that by the time an officer encountered Rodriguez at the gas station, authorities had identified him as their suspect.
The officer tried to arrest him, but Quigley said Rodriguez fired two shots at him. He said the officer, whom he would not identify, was not hit.
Ken Lynch, acting police chief in Londonderry, said Rodriguez apparently was a distant relative of one of the men he killed in Londonderry, Nicanor Rodriguez, 59, a shipping supervisor at an apple orchard where two of the shootings occurred. Lynch and an orchard worker who refused to be identified said the gunman worked at the orchard more than five years ago and had visited since.
Witnesses to Shootings
Police said that between 5 p.m. Wednesday and his death about three hours later, Rodriguez shot two men in the drug-ridden French Hill neighborhood of Nashua, drove 10 miles to Londonderry and shot two more, then drove back to the same Nashua neighborhood and claimed his fifth victim.
Hamel said there were witnesses to the shootings.
"They're selling (drugs) all hours of the night there," one man said. "I've seen people fight there. (The shooting spree) was only a matter of time with all the drugs and guns around."
A grocery store clerk who also asked to remain anonymous had a similar view.
"It's not like it's big news--people aren't that worked up about it," she said.