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Police shoot, kill driver

  • Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey A. Strelzin addresses the media outside the Peterborough Police Department on Tuesday. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey A. Strelzin addresses the media outside the Peterborough Police Department on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • Scene of a police involved shooting on Greenfield Road in Peterborough on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Staff photo by Brandon Latham.

  • Scene of a police involced shooting on Greenfield Road in Peterborough on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • Scene of a police involced shooting on Greenfield Road in Peterborough on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • Scene of a police involced shooting on Greenfield Road in Peterborough on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

  • The scene of an officer-involved shooting in Peterborough on June 21, 2016. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/22/2016 7:28:38 PM

A car chase Tuesday morning ended in Peterborough when a police officer shot and killed a Michigan teen, according to police.

Officers from Greenfield, Peterborough and the state police were involved in a chase that ended when Lane Lesko, 19, of Ann Arbor, drove off the road near Sunnyfield Farm on Route 136 in Peterborough.

“I was talking on the phone at the time, and then I heard what sounded like a loud speaker,” Kathy Salamy, who lives only a few hundred yards south of where the shooting took place, said.

She said the next thing she heard was the sound of gunshots. Five of them, she thinks, with four coming in short sequence, then the last after a pause. “I thought they were shooting ducks or something,” she said.

Investigation of the events has been assumed by the state attorney general’s office, as is the case in any homicide. Investigators determined Lesko’s cause of death to be a single gunshot wound.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin, who answered questions outside the Peterborough Police Department yesterday, said the investigators are trying to build an accurate timeline. The vehicle was impounded by Peterborough police.

“It may be that what happened was a result of more than what happened today,” said Strelzin. “But that’s what we’re looking into.”

Lesko, a convicted car thief, was reported missing Monday from a summer camp in Cambridge, N.H., near the Maine border, according to police reports.

“Part of it is trying to figure out what led to this,” Strelzin said. “And why he acted the way he did.”

According to eyewitnesses, Greenfield police were in pursuit of the vehicle on Route 136. Kerry Close was working on a project on Route 136 for her charitable organization, Monadnock Strong, when the chase passed the work site around 10:20 a.m.

“It was unbelievable because the vehicles were so close together, and it didn’t seem like a chase because the vehicle was not going that fast,” she said. 

Close estimated the fleeing vehicle was going between 20 mph and 30 mph, and that the Greenfield cruiser was no more than 10 feet behind it. She guessed they slowed because there was a police detail, with the lights on, managing traffic on the road.

At about this time, neighbors remember seeing police cruisers speeding by from the opposite direction. 

Four vehicles were involved in the incident when police finally caught up to Lesko, according to a law enforcement officer who was at the scene. Three were public safety vehicles, cruisers for the Greenfield, Peterborough and state police. The other was the car Lesko was driving, a black late model BMW X6. Photos of the car indicate that the car was missing a front license plate.

Tire tracks at the scene suggest the vehicle exited the road on the right, going south toward Peterborough, and drove on a grass field for about 50 yards. 

After the car came to a stop, Lesko exited the vehicle. In photos and video of the scene, Lesko’s body is seen in the middle of the roadway. 

Footage captured by a Fox 25 news helicopter appear to show a gun on the ground on the shoulder of Route 136. 

Route 136, also known as Greenfield Road, was closed four about eight hours on Tuesday, between the intersections with Old Greenfield Road and Gulf Road in Peterborough, while law enforcement officials were investigating at the scene.

Strelzin said that the attorney general’s office will be interviewing all of the officers involved before making information available to the public.

Along with the police departments with officers present for the incident, responders from the state Department of Transportation and Major Crimes Unit, and police officers from Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Hancock and maybe more helped install roadblocks and secure the scene.

Investigators would not even disclose which department the officer who shot the driver is from. Greenfield Town Administrator Aaron Patt said that no Greenfield officers have been placed on administrative leave. The same is true of Peterborough, according to a spokesperson.

The investigation is ongoing, with particular interest in the driver’s activities over the past 24 to 48 hours.

He said investigators have gotten information from a lot of different sources, in trying to learn more about the driver and origins of the pursuit.


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