Four New Hampshire officers have been placed on leave following a deadly shootout that resulted in the death of an erratic driver who allegedly opened fire on officers Monday.
Douglas Heath, 38, was killed in an "exchange of gunfire" with officials after he crashed his vehicle near the intersection of Route 125 and Oak Street in Rochester, New Hampshire, according to state Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.
Heath was wanted on multiple warrants, including fleeing from Maine State Police and trafficking narcotics. When officials spotted the suspect Monday afternoon, they suspected he had weapons in the vehicle and began to follow him, authorities said.
Heath allegedly led police on a chase that resulted in a crash, where he opened fire on two New Hampshire State Police troopers and two Rochester police officers.
"The guy rolled out of the car wielding a handgun and started firing off a couple of shots," witness Austin McKenzie said. "He was endangering lives of police officers."
McKenzie recorded the fatal confrontation with his cellphone. He said that Heath fired at officers first, which resulted in them firing back in response.
"He 100 percent had it coming," McKenzie said. "I don’t know what happened beforehand or anything like that, but coming out of the car like that… you can’t do something like that and expect it to be a good outcome."
Police recovered a gun near Heath’s body after the shootout.
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Maine State Police said Heath had been wanted in connection with a police chase in Sanford on June 11. Authorities said Heath led Sanford and State Police on a chase along Route 202 from Sanford to Lebanon but after a couple of miles, the pursuit was terminated because of safety to the public.
Maine State Police had attempted to pull Heath over because of an arrest warrant out of New Hampshire on a drug charge.
Johnny Watson, a longtime friend of Heath, spoke with NBC10 Boston about Monday's ordeal.
"I'd just like people to know that he's a pretty good guy and I wish his family the best through this awful situation," Watson said.
Officials are continuing their investigation into the officer-involved shooting. Anyone who witnessed the exchange or who has information is urged to contact New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636.