LONDONDERRY — Thomas Enquist Sr. may have served time in prison, but he didn't deserve to be murdered, his son and a neighbor said yesterday.
Enquist, 42, was found slain in his pickup truck Tuesday night along Route 101 in Auburn. He died of multiple gunshot wounds. State police are seeking information from anyone who saw Enquist the night his body was found.
Enquist, who lived on Woodhenge Circle in Londonderry, has a lengthy criminal history that includes serving more than a decade in prison for trying to shoot and kill a Manchester police officer in 1994. He also was charged with punching a Londonderry boy in the face and pleaded guilty to attempting to break into a jewelry business.
Enquist also had been linked to the Lynn Breakers burglary ring, but never convicted in the theft of $2.5 million worth of jewelry, including 27 New York Giants Super Bowl rings, from a warehouse in Attleboro. Members of the Lynn Breakers allegedly wore Ninja outfits and used walkie-talkies, a cell phone jammer and power tools to commit the thefts as they cut a hole in the warehouse roof, according to published reports.
But Enquist's son, 20-year-old Thomas Enquist Jr., said yesterday he best remembers his father as a man who taught him many things and would help anyone in need.
"He was a caring person," his son said. "He would do anything he could for anybody."
Thomas Enquist Jr. fought back tears as he spoke of his father outside the family's home. His mother, Diane, declined to comment, saying her husband has not been portrayed fairly by the media.
"He taught me every kind of trade," his son said. "He taught me everything."
The 20-year-old told of how his father, a foreman for a painting company, taught him everything he knew about construction, including the proper way to put up a wall.
"He taught me dirt bike riding," he said. "He built things with me."
As a cold, icy rain began to fall, the son showed the last photograph taken of the two together during a visit to SpookyWorld in October. He said his dad had a great sense of humor and could make anyone laugh. Despite his criminal record, his father was a changed man, he said.
"The past is the past," he said. "People change."
Several neighbors declined to comment about the man's death, saying they did not know him well, including one who had not heard he died. Some said they noticed police cars at the family's home on more than one occasion.
But Sandra Fisher, who lives across the street, remembers the 42-year-old as someone who would come over and plow her driveway for free when he saw her shoveling snow.
"He's a great neighbor," she said. "He's basically a good guy; he just had a tough life. It's a sad tragedy. No one deserves to die like that."
Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said yesterday that while his office continues to investigate the death, there have been no major breakthroughs in the case since Enquist's body was found in his black Ford pickup shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Police received a phone call about an abandoned vehicle parked in the Route 101 breakdown lane between Exits 1 and 2.
Agati did say investigators have since learned he was last seen Tuesday afternoon. Anyone with further details about the slaying is asked to call state police headquarters at 271-3636.
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