Stray bullet hits Greenfield cop’s home 

  • Greenfield Select board member Steve Atherton is under investigation in correlation to a stray bullet that went through Sgt. Glenn Roberge’s home window on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.  File photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 09, 2017 6:8PM

A select board member's involvement in a shooting incident at a Greenfield police officer's home is under investigation by state police, according to Police Chief Brian Giammarino.

Giammarino said a stray bullet went through Sgt. Glenn Roberge’s home window on Sunday, Oct. 1 at about 3:50 p.m. He said there were five people near the property when the bullet was fired, including select board member Stephen Atherton. 

“I can’t tell you whether [Atherton] did it (shot the gun) or not,” Giammarino said. “ … I can say it was not shot out of anger or anything like that.”

Roberge declined to comment for this story, citing it as an open investigation. Multiple attempts to reach Atherton by phone, through social media and at his home for comment weren’t successful by deadline on Monday. S.M. Atherton Autocare LLC, which is listed at 217 Forest Road online, appears to no longer be in business.

Giammarino said state police were called in and are conducting the investigation. Multiple messages to State Police Sgt. Kathleen Grealy, who responded to the call, were not returned by deadline. 

The incident has led town officials to indefinitely postpone the police chief search. 

“The select board suspended the search to deal with internal issues,” Town Administration Aaron Patt said. 

Select board chair Margo Charig Bliss said, "there was an incident over the weekend that seriously affected our thinking on things."

Neither Patt or Charig Bliss would elaborate much further about the event. Instead, they both pointed the Ledger-Transcript to the board’s Oct. 3 draft meeting minutes. The minutes state that at 5:45 p.m. Giammarino came in and asked to speak with the select board and provided a report regarding the incident that occurred over the weekend. Giammarino said he couldn’t provide many details at the time.

The minutes say that Atherton arrived at the meeting at 6:25 p.m. and Giammarino asked to speak with him outside of the meeting. Giammarino returned to the room and gave the board an update about Atherton’s “well being.” From the meeting minutes, it appears Atherton didn’t return to the meeting.

The board was scheduled to discuss police chief applications in a non-public session but decided to suspend the process.

“After a lengthy deliberation the chair makes a motion to suspend the police chief search,” the minutes read.

The motion was seconded by selectman Robert Marshall and passed in a 2-0 vote with one member absent.

Atherton was elected to the select board seat in a contested race in 2015. He won the slot by 13 votes, according to an article published in the Ledger-Transcript at the time. His three-year term ends in 2018.

It’s unclear when the chief search will resume.

“The chief (Giammarino) is OK to stay on until we have some other resolution,” Charig Bliss said after the meeting.

Patt said the postponement of the search has nothing to do with the candidates who applied for the position.

The select board will meet today at 5:30 p.m.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.