RINDGE — The heavy police response on Birch Drive last week was prompted by a man’s threatening behavior toward an ex while armed and intoxicated, followed by repeated efforts by police to contact him, according to police affidavits filed in court.
The man, Joshua H. Whitcomb, 39, of Rindge, was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of domestic violence–criminal threatening and misdemeanor domestic violence.
Officers from multiple agencies blocked off a portion of Birch Drive for several hours that day while attempting to contact Whitcomb and arrest him on a warrant.
He emerged from the house around 3:30 p.m., after a N.H. State Police SWAT team had arrived and began calling to him from an armored vehicle, according to Rindge police.
At an arraignment Thursday, a Cheshire County Superior Court judge ordered Whitcomb held without bail, unless released into a residential treatment program for alcohol use.
Whitcomb was not at the Cheshire County jail as of Monday, according to the jail’s online inmate list.
About 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday, June 25, Rindge police met with Whitcomb’s former intimate partner, according to an affidavit by Rindge police Officer John S. Ciarcia.
The woman said she had gone to his Birch Drive home to pick up some belongings earlier that night, and found him “highly intoxicated and not mentally stable,” Ciarcia wrote.
Whitcomb grabbed the woman’s collar and “racked” his shotgun, “which put a round in the chamber,” the officer wrote. A witness who had been in the house told police she heard Whitcomb threaten to point the gun at his ex if she didn’t leave the house, according to the affidavit.
Whitcomb’s ex also told police she worried he might harm himself.
Rindge police made multiple attempts to contact him by phone, but were not successful, according to an affidavit written by Rindge Sgt. Rachel D. Malynowski.
Cellphone data indicated Whitcomb was at his residence Wednesday morning, and at about 11:30 a.m., officers from Rindge, Jaffrey and State Police went to Birch Drive, Malynowski wrote.
Police continued to try to reach Whitcomb on his phone and by speaking through a police cruiser’s public address system, with no success, according to Malynowski’s affidavit.
Around 3:30, after the SWAT team arrived, “Whitcomb voluntarily walked out of his residence and surrendered to police custody,” Malynowski wrote. He was unarmed.
That happened after “approximately 2 minutes of hailing from the armored vehicle for Whitcomb to surrender,” according to a news release that evening from Rindge police.
The news release and the affidavits do not contain further details about what induced Whitcomb to leave the house after several hours of silence. Rindge Police Chief Daniel Anair did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
A search of his home turned up two shotguns, according to Malynowski’s affidavit.