BenShot Hard to Kill candidate William Beeler

On May 19, 2011, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Manchester Police Department units were dispatched to a private residence for an armed man within the home. Dispatch further advised responding units that the male had barricaded his two children ages 9 and 13 upstairs in the bathroom along with their mother. As units arrived on scene, we set up a perimeter around the home in question. I took a position directly across the street from the front door of the home using a Subaru Outback as cover. 

As I lay prone behind the car, I was in constant contact with one of my fellow officers, Johnson. As Officer Johnson moved to his position of cover I felt as if something wasn’t right with this whole situation. I became instantly nauseous at this time. At this moment two gunshots rang out from inside the home. My fellow officers and I immediately went into our active shooter plan. We tactically approached the home armed with AR-15s. 

Officer Johnson and I covered down on the front window of the home while other officers were on the front stairs attempting to enter the home. The shade was drawn on the front window which appeared to be a large picture style window at this time. While covering the window we heard another shot ring out. Officers jumped off the front porch as my left arm fell to my side. I thought to myself, “why did I just let go of my rifle?” As I looked away from the window, I noticed that I had been shot in my left shoulder. I shouted to Officer Johnson that I had been shot and needed cover. I pressed my back against the foundation of the home as the suspect continued to shoot out the window. 

Officer Johnson returned fire which allowed me to move to a large oak tree located in the front yard. As I approached the tree the suspect shot at me approximately two more times striking the base of the tree. Officer Johnson then took cover right beside me. I told him that I would be running to the same Subaru which I started from. Officer Johnson rolled out from behind the tree and again engaged the suspect. 

I moved from behind the tree and ran across the street as rounds were again being fired in my direction. I dove to the ground behind the vehicle and conducted a quick assessment of my injury. I did not see any blood at this time and knew that my breathing had not been affected. I immediately thought of my twins and my then pregnant wife. I knew that these thoughts needed to get out of my head and that I needed to focus on the task at hand. 

I yelled to Officer Johnson that I would be running through a shrub line as concealment to make it to awaiting police personnel. I did a one-armed push up and started to run into the shrub line. I could hear branches breaking over my head and the sound of shots being fired. I recall Officer Johnson moving across the street providing cover fire as I moved. As I exited the tree line, I was grabbed by a fellow officer who laid me down behind a marked police car. The only problem was that we were still within the “hot zone.”

I was triaged as bullets began to strike the vehicle that we were behind. We moved from the police car and ran south to an awaiting ambulance. The total time that I was on scene was seven minutes. While in the ambulance the thought of my family again returned, and the severity of the situation started to set in. I was met at the hospital by co-workers, friends, and family. But the most important person there was my wife. 

Officers on scene were kept at bay and pinned down for over 45 minutes with more than 150 rounds shot at them. A coordinated officer rescue was conducted, and all officers were removed from the inner perimeter without further injury. The suspect in question was shot and killed by a swat team sniper who was positioned across the street.

Ben Wolfgram