State trooper says no criminal intent involved in stray bullet incident

  • Greenfield select board member Stephen Atherton sits at a meeting at the Town Hall last month. State police launched an investigation into an incident that happened on Oct. 1, 2017 where a stray bullet shattered a local officer’s home window. Atherton was shooting at a range on his family’s property at the time. A state trooper said no criminal intent was discovered during their investigation into the matter. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, November 06, 2017 9:54PM
Oct 1: Greenfield select board member Steven Atherton Jr. shoots a .380 handgun at a family owned shooting range on Forest Road when a bullet strikes a local officer's home window.Oct. 3: Greenfield select board votes to postpone police chief search. Oct.

A state trooper determined there was no criminal behavior in an October incident that involved a select board member and a stray bullet into a local police officer’s home.

“We concluded there was no criminal aspect,” said Matthew Wolak, a New Hampshire State Police Troop B Trooper.

State police picked up the investigation after a bullet struck Sgt. Glenn Roberge’s home window. Greenfield select board member Stephen Atherton was shooting with a group of people that day at a range on his family’s piece of property on the 600 block of Forest Road. Atherton said in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript in early October that he was shooting a .380 caliber handgun that day. He said the bullet, which went through a window at Roberge’s home, was a .380.

Wolak said the two parties were able to come to “amicable agreement.”

“I think [Atherton] was going to pay for the damage,” Wolak said.

In an interview with the Ledger-Transcript last month, Atherton said the stray bullet was an accident. 

“I probably don’t see myself shooting down there again from guilt, shame, and again disgust in myself for having it come to that,” Atherton said. “It could have been a lot worse that’s what the bottom line is.”

Atherton was elected to the select board in 2016 after narrowly edging out the incumbent at the time. He is serving a three-year term that will expire in 2018.

Around the same time that the stray bullet incident occurred, the select board decided to suspend its search for the police chief search. Select board chair Margo Charig Bliss said she couldn’t say if the two incidents were connected or not in an interview in October.

On Thursday, Charig Bliss said the police chief search has not yet resumed. She said she has no sense of when those discussions will begin again. 

Current Chief Brian Giammarino has told the board he will continue to remain at the department’s helm until the town hires a replacement. Giammarino told the board he was leaving in the summer.

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