Nashua teen facing felonies after 2:30 a.m. kidnapping of girl at gunpoint

·2 min read

May 31—An 18-year-old from Nashua faces numerous felony charges after police say he kidnapped a teenage girl at gunpoint and drove her around the city early Sunday morning before police tracked him down and arrested him.

Zachary Howard went to the alleged victim's residence about 2:30 a.m. Sunday and demanded that the girl, who was known to him, go with him, said Lt. Peter Urban.

"At the time, he was armed with a firearm," Urban said.

"The victim wanted to try to calm him down," so she went with him, Urban said. "He was upset, and they drove around the city for a while."

The girl managed to call 911 several times during the 45-minute ordeal, and police tracked the vehicle to an address on Lund Road, Urban said.

When officers arrived, Howard ran off on foot and escaped, but police located the girl, who had minor injuries. She was taken for evaluation to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, where she was treated and later released, Urban said.

A short time later, police learned that Howard had returned to his home, where police attempted to contact him. "We were able to get him into custody after a short foot chase," Urban said.

Police recovered the handgun at Howard's home, Urban said. Urban said the gun went off during the car ride, but it appears to have been accidental.

Howard was held on preventive detention over the holiday weekend at Valley Street jail in Manchester.

Howard was charged with three counts of criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, reckless conduct and falsifying physical evidence. All are domestic violence-related and Class B felonies, punishable by up to seven years in state prison, according to police.

He also was charged with three counts of simple assault, reckless conduct, resisting arrest and criminal mischief, each a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Urban said investigators are still conducting interviews in the case. "Anytime there's a firearm involved, we take these matters very seriously," he said.