DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

January 9, 2014

Man charged with attacking cop with hammer

By Doug Ireland
direland@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — A Franklin Street man was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail Jan. 3 after police said he attacked officers with a hammer when they responded to his home.

Shawn DeCoste, 36, of 109 Franklin St., Apt. 3D, had to be shot with a stun gun Jan. 2 because he charged at police, swinging the hammer at one officer’s head, according to Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas.

The officer avoided being hit in the head, but was struck on the forearm, injuring his wrist, Thomas said.

As officers struggled with DeCoste to take him into custody, he tried to grab an officer’s gun from its holster, Thomas said. DeCoste was finally subdued with the stun gun and arrested, he said.

“He wanted to fight and the officers had to do what they had to do to detain him and take him into custody,” Thomas said.

DeCoste, arrested in October 2009 for allegedly threatening a Southern New Hampshire University administrator, faces several felony charges in connection with the incident Thursday.

It began when the team of three officers went to DeCoste’s apartment at approximately 1:20 p.m. Thomas said DeCoste had made threats on his Facebook page that he was going to kill his therapist and police officers.

In one Facebook posting on last week, DeCoste said one needs to kill any officer “who tries to take away your freedom or control you.”

In another posting, written Christmas Eve, DeCoste said, “I don’t like people asking me if I’m taking my medication just because I have a disagreement with them.”

Police entered the apartment after DeCoste did not answer the door, finding him in a bedroom. The officers requested that he come out, prompting DeCoste to approach them with the hammer, Thomas said.

Once in custody, DeCoste was held overnight at the Rockingham County jail and arraigned Jan. 3 in 10th Circuit Court in Derry.

DeCoste was returned to the jail,Thomas said.

He was charged with first-degree assault, attempted first-degree assault and attempted taking of a police officer’s firearm. They are all felonies.

DeCoste, who has an extensive criminal record, was also charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 13 for a probable cause hearing.

Thomas said he could not comment on DeCoste’s previous record, but knew of his conviction four years ago in the incident at the Southern New Hampshire University campus on Keewaydin Drive in Salem.

DeCoste was arrested by Salem police on criminal threatening and disorderly conduct charges after making a threatening call to the college’s director.

DeCoste, studying for his master’s degree in business administration, had been asked not to return to the school, police said.

The incident led to an hour-long lockdown of the campus, although only four people were at the school during the 4 p.m. incident.

DeCoste, who told the judge during his arraignment that he was unemployed and an amateur comedian, had been on conditional release from the state psychiatric hospital, the prosecutor said.