Affidavit: Warwick man admitted killing mother in NH hospital room
LEBANON, N.H. (AP) —
A Warwick man admitted to police he fatally shot his mother in the intensive care unit of New Hampshire's largest hospital, according to a police affidavit.
Travis Frink showed no emotion as he pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge at his arraignment Wednesday. A judge ordered Frink held without bail and to have no contact with his step-father.
Frink signed into the visitor center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon on Tuesday afternoon and went to the intensive care unit, authorities said. Soon after, Lebanon police received an emergency call reporting shots had been fired there.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald identified the shooting victim as Frink's 70-year-old mother, Pamela Ferriere, of Groton. He said the 48-year-old Frink went to the hospital with the intent of killing her.
"The facts gathered to this point reveal that the purpose of Mr. Frink's visit to the hospital today was to kill his mother," MacDonald said, adding that more than one shot had been fired, but no other patients, visitors or workers were physically injured.
According to the police affidavit, Frink asked his step-father, Robert Ferriere, to leave the room so he could have some time alone with his mother. Police said Robert Ferriere left the room, but heard his wife scream or shout. He turned around and saw Frink fire several shots, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said Frink did not say a word, put the gun in a bag and walked out of the room, at which point Robert Ferriere called for help.
"I was there. I saw him kill her,” said Robert Ferriere. “It's very painful. She was the most loving and caring person I have ever known.”
Frink was detained as he tried to leave the grounds of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, authorities said. He was in custody and couldn't be reached for comment. No possible motive for the shooting was released.
The affidavit said Pamela Ferriere was in the ICU to be treated for an aneurism, but was due to be discharged Friday.
Robert Ferriere said in a brief phone interview that he had no idea why it happened.
"I'm not a mind reader," he said before hanging up.
Frink was scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, New Hampshire.
Authorities released very little information about Frink, though police in Rhode Island said in 2013 that his wife and her 3-year-old son were found dead inside a running car at an apartment complex.
Police said that when officers opened the door of the running car with fogged windows, they found the inside of the vehicle very hot and smelling of alcohol and vomit. Officials said the body of Frink's wife was found in the driver's seat and the child's body was found on the floor in the back of the car.
Police suspected alcohol played in a role.
Frink's Facebook page shows he got engaged last December. His LinkedIn page includes a long list of experience in computer systems administration and technical support jobs in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Messages left with the company listed as his current employer weren't immediately returned.
Several of Frink's neighbors in Warwick said he mostly kept to himself.
Tuesday's shooting sparked panic at the hospital as employees and patients were evacuated into the parking lot. People were told to avoid the area around the hospital, and traffic was stopped on a route leading to it.
An employee reported that an employee said all workers received an email from the hospital about a "code silver," indicating a violent situation is unfolding, telling them to get out if possible or to shelter in place.
Susan Flynn, who was about to have surgery at the hospital, told WCAX-TV she and her husband escaped to a patio soon after the shooting.
"We were sitting in this patio area and two police came running out with guns and those shields that they wear and said, `Run, run!' So, we ran out of there as fast as we could and on to next location and kept moving and moving to different locations until they put us in a secure location," Flynn said.
Joanne Conroy, the president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, praised her staff for its response and said everyone had taken part in several active-shooter trainings in the past.
"Today was an incredibly stressful day and a tragic day for the affected family," she said. "We had the best outcome from this. Nobody else was hurt, and that is all we can ask for."
Hospital administrators said they're making sure their employees are emotionally OK.
“We've provided time for that team to be away from clinical work and when they're ready to come back, (they will be) totally supported by their colleagues,” Dr. Edward Merrens said.
Hospital officials said they're reviewing their safety procedures, but also noted that they don't want to be reactive.
“So, our security officers are not armed. I think, as evidenced as you all saw yesterday, the response from law enforcement was immediate and very effective,” said Jim Alexander. “There were at least 120 officers here in moments.”
NBC 10 News contributed to this report.