The attorney general’s office is investigating the fatal shooting of an unarmed New Hampshire man by a New Hampshire state trooper. The shooting took place on the evening before Christmas eve, at the junction of Route 4 and Switch Road in the town of Canaan. Victim Jesse Champney, 26, was accompanied by his fiancée Saeti Tobin, 23, who was unharmed but shaken by the experience. The pair have both “had run-ins with the police” in the past, according to local news reports.
Enfield Man Shot By State Trooper After Crashing Into Field
State Trooper Christopher O’Toole, accompanied by fellow trooper Samuel Provenza, was following Champney’s vehicle for unknown reasons; Champney allegedly tried to evade the officer for fear he would be arrested on an outstanding warrant. After an attempted turn, Champney’s vehicle crashed but neither him nor his fiancée were injured. While Tobin remained in the vehicle, Champney fled into a nearby field while the trooper continued his pursuit. The trooper proceeded to fire four gun shots in Champney’s direction, all of which struck him and he was killed. Provenza did not discharge his firearm during the incident. Tobin, who has since spoken with reporters about the incident, insists Champney was unarmed and had no drugs in his possession, lamenting that Champney “just wanted to be with his family for the holidays.”
Champney first noticed the Trooper behind them just before attempting to turn onto Switch Road. It is possible that poor weather conditions contributed to the subsequent crash in a snow covered field. Tobin told the Valley News, “He was never trying to advance on anyone, he was trying to get away. A high-speed chase, there were no drugs involved, there were no weapons involved, there was no stolen car and there was no serious crime committed. He was scared… That’s it.”
Champney’s brother Josh was present during the interview, adding that although his brother is believed to have been unarmed, it is possible he was carrying a pocket knife.
Regardless if Champney carried a pocket knife or not, both Tobin and Josh believe Provenza “had it out” for Champney, feeling Champney was “targeted,” according to Valley News. The two, however, gave no reason for the claim, and when Valley News reached out to Provenza for comment, all calls were referred to the Attorney General’s Office. It is possible that Champney’s criminal history acquainted him with the Trooper. In May 2016, Champney was arrested for possession of heroin with intent to sell but failed to appear in court, leading to his outstanding warrant.
Meanwhile, O’Toole has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.
New Hampshire Criminal Defense Attorney
The circumstances of Champney’s death are not fully know and an investigation is ongoing. No matter what crime a person may be accused of, they are entitled to a fair trial and competent legal representation. Dedicated New Hampshire criminal defense attorneys are available to those who have been accused of committing a crime, ensuring that the accused knows his or her rights and has a chance to explain the circumstances of the crime, maintain their innocence, or makes a fair deal with the court to atone for the crime.
Everyone is entitled to legal representation when they have been accused of a crime. Ideally, the suspect should have the chance to retain an attorney, present a case and receive a fair and just sentence if convicted. If you have been accused of a crime in the state of New Hampshire and require a criminal defense attorney, the team at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. is ready to provide you with a consultation of your case. It is critical that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today or call 603-624-3700.