EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 24, 2013

Trooper assault suspect extradited to N.H.

Man nabbed at Haverhill hotel

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — A Concord, N.H., man on the run since Saturday night was captured yesterday in Haverhill and now faces charges in the Granite State for injuring a state trooper who tried to help him.

Sean McGurk, 42, is charged with assaulting Trooper James Powers, who had to be taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, according to Lt. Christopher Wagner of New Hampshire State Police.

Powers thought the white Volvo V70 that McGurk was driving had broken down Saturday night along Interstate 93 south in Salem.

But Powers became suspicious when he approached the vehicle shortly before 8 p.m. to speak to McGurk, who suddenly became aggressive.

The two then became involved in a scuffle when McGurk tried to flee. Powers used a stun gun and pepper spray on McGurk, but he managed to escape.

McGurk, described by police as dangerous with an extensive criminal record, received minor injuries during the altercation but was able to flee into nearby woods, Wagner said.

McGurk ran to a nearby home, where he found an unlocked vehicle with the keys in it and sped off, Wagner said.

Police were able to follow McGurk’s tracks to the home. The stolen vehicle was recovered a short time later outside Marshalls department store at Westgate Plaza in Haverhill, according to New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Bryan Task.

But authorities weren’t able to nab McGurk until a day and a half later.

McGurk has had several encounters with police over the years.

They include an incident in 2010 when McGurk was holed up in an abandoned building in Bradford, Vt., and had to be flushed out by state police using tear gas.

Prior to the hourslong standoff, McGurk had been pursued by police through several towns before seeking refuge in the building.

That incident occurred only a month before McGurk was to go on trial in Manchester, N.H., on multiple felony charges.

“He’s no stranger to law enforcement,” Wagner said.

McGurk also became the focus of a bail bond company’s unsuccessful appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The company, Lawyers for Free Bail Bonds of Nevada, challenged a lower court order that the firm forfeit $11,000 in bail money it had posted on McGurk.

McGurk did not appear for trial because he was being held in Vermont in connection with the police chase in 2010. He was serving a four-year sentence for burglary when the high court handed down its decision last year.

With help from Haverhill police, McGurk was captured about 12:20 p.m. yesterday by the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Trooper Todd Nolan said.

Authorities received a tip that McGurk was at the Best Western hotel on Lowell Avenue, Nolan said.

McGurk, who was unarmed, was arrested without incident after being spotted in the lobby, he said.

McGurk was taken back to Massachusetts State Police barracks in Newbury and arraigned as a fugitive from justice in Haverhill District Court. He waived extradition to New Hampshire.

McGurk was taken to the Salem police station, and will be arraigned this morning at 10th Circuit Court in Derry.

McGurk faces charges of simple assault, resisting arrest, theft of a motor vehicle and being a habitual offender.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.