By John Toole
---- — Deadly force was justified in the fatal shooting of a former Derry man last month in Manchester, the state Attorney General ruled last week.
Michael J. LaRocque Jr., 24, a former football standout for Pinkerton Academy, died from gunshot wounds suffered during a home invasion.
“In light of all the circumstances, it was reasonable for Ian Peters to believe that the intruders were likely to use any unlawful force against him, his fiance, or her child, in the commission of a burglary or some other felony, inside the apartment,” the Attorney General’s report said.
No criminal charges will be brought against Peters, the report said.
Peters was home in his apartment early Sunday, June 9, when two men he did not recognize forced their way into his Lake Avenue apartment.
“At that time, he thought that the two men might be armed and that he was in a life or death situation,” the report said. “Peters yelled at the two intruders. Both intruders remained silent, did not retreat from the apartment, and advanced toward Peters. Only then did Peters use deadly force against the two intruders.”
When Peters did fire his handgun, he limited his use of force to “what was reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” the Attorney General concluded.
Detectives found five discharged cartridge casings.
It’s unclear from the report when the gunfire wounded Larocque, who was unarmed.
The report said Peters fired at Larocque and the other man when they charged him, but he did not believe he hit them.
The other man fled, then Peters went looking for Larocque, who was trying to get out through a bathroom window.
“Peters told Larocque to get down on the ground and not to move. Instead, Larocque turned and attacked Peters,” the report said. “Peters and Larocque started to physically struggle and during that struggle, Peters’ gun went off.”
Peters told police he didn’t try to shoot Larocque during their struggle and the report said that gunshot did not appear to hit him.
“Help me,” Larocque said to Peters at one point during the struggle, before collapsing.
“Peters could see that Larocque was bleeding profusely at that point, so Peters called 911 for help,” the report said.
Investigators determined Peters’s fiancee was receiving confrontational and threatening text messages prior to the home invasion. Larocque was an acquaintance of someone the fiancee knew, the report said.
“Based on the text messages that went back and forth that night, as well as other information gleaned during the investigation, it appears that Ian Peters was specifically targeted that night and that the intruders’ intent was to physically harm him,” the report said.
Larocque died from wounds to the arm and abdomen.
Neither the Attorney General nor the Manchester police have identified the second intruder.
“As for the home invasion itself, the Manchester Police Department is continuing to investigate that part of the incident in an attempt to hold the other home invader and any other participants accountable for their roles in the events,” the report said.
LaRocque was living in Manchester at the time of his death.
He was a standout running back with Pinkerton’s back-to-back state champions in 2006 and 2007.