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Apr. 6—CONCORD — New Hampshire is facing an epidemic of methamphetamine abuse, the state's top prosecutor said Tuesday in announcing a Meredith police officer was justified in killing a methamphetamine addict last November.
The ruling in the police shooting — which resulted in the death of Lakes Region musician David Donovan, 35, in Meredith — was the third time in as many weeks that authorities have released details of an investigation into a fatal police shooting involving people who used methamphetamine.
The stimulant causes paranoid and delusional thoughts and can turn users violent. The New Hampshire Union Leader first reported on the state's surge of methamphetamine cases in February.
"A number of these individuals we have seen over the last couple of weeks were very productive, loved members of society. They start using methamphetamine, and in a very short time they're unrecognizable to their family and friends," Deputy Attorney General Jane Young said.
Young said she is meeting biweekly with state, local and federal law enforcement to discuss how to address methamphetamine use.
"We are trying to gather the best and brightest in the state to figure out how to combat this problem because it will be a true epidemic," Young said.
On Tuesday, Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoff Ward released details of the shooting, and authorities made information — including videos captured from a Ring home surveillance system — available online.
Donovan's methamphetamine addiction was well known to his family and even Meredith police, according to Ward. In June, efforts were made to involuntarily commit him, Ward said.
On Nov. 15, he attacked his mother's longtime boyfriend, his mother and his roommate with a knife. He armed himself with three kitchen knives, refused numerous police orders to drop them and taunted police for trying to subdue him with a Taser.
He was advancing on Kevin O'Reilly, a police officer in Meredith for 12 years, and was about 10 feet away when O'Reilly fired twice, killing him.
Ward said any investigation into who supplied Donovan with methamphetamine would be conducted by local police. The state has no enhanced penalties for meth suppliers whose customers commit violent crimes, Young said.
O'Reilly, who is still a Meredith police officer, has been on administrative leave, Ward said.
A telephone call to the department's police chief was not immediately returned.