PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — A Summer Street man was charged Thursday with three felonies in connection with shots allegedly fired in the direction of a teenager, who was driving away after entering the home while looking for a party at 3:30 a.m. earlier this month.
Mark D. Gray, 44, of 140 Summer St., is charged with two counts of reckless conduct and criminal threatening, all Class B felonies.
Portsmouth police say a teenage girl who lives at 140 Summer St. invited the teenage boy to a gathering via social media on Aug. 18. Due to a miscommunication, the boy was unaware the party was at a different location, not the girl’s home, according to police.
When the boy arrived at 140 Summer St., police said, he found the door unlocked and entered the home, waking the residents. The teenage boy then fled from the home and entered his vehicle, which was parked on Summer Street. The residents exited the home and encountered the boy, police said, and shots were fired in the direction of the vehicle “as it fled from the area,” police said.
Bullet holes were seen in the boy’s truck.
According to public records, Gray lives in the home with Brenna Cavanaugh, a former Portsmouth police commissioner. Hours after the gunfire incident, Cavanaugh sent an email to media outlets stating the teenage boy’s vehicle was fired upon “as it accelerated toward us at a high rate of speed,” after it had already accelerated at a high rate of speed in reverse crashing into a telephone pole.
“In a last resort action of self defense, in an effort to disable the vehicle, and neutralize an immediate threat to our lives, the vehicle was fired upon as it approached and passed us. Not as ‘it fled,’” Cavanaugh said.
Her account of the story was disputed the same weekend by Jay Nadeau, an attorney representing the teenager and his parents.
“I believe it will be clear from physical evidence alone that multiple gunshots were fired at my client while he was driving away from the home of Ms. Cavanaugh and her partner, after innocently entering it and leaving right away realizing that he had entered the wrong home that he had been invited to,” Nadeau said at the time.
“There is simply no justification for this reckless conduct, which could have ended in serious tragedy as more than one bullet fired impacted the front driver’s side of my client’s vehicle,” Nadeau added. “While New Hampshire is a ‘stand your ground’ state, this situation should have stopped at the door and not have been carried over onto a public right of way, especially since there was no harm or threat of harm to Ms. Cavanaugh and her partner.”
Gray was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 4. The charges will be prosecuted by the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office.
Portsmouth police said their investigation was done in conjunction with the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit, which conducted a trajectory analysis of the rounds fired.
Police ask anyone with information regarding the incident to call detective Peter Sheldon at (603) 610-7609.
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