Fiancee: Man Shot and Killed By NH State Police Was Running Away
Photo courtesy - (Left photo) Saeti Tobin Facebook page. (Right photo) Jesse Champney mugshot from May 2016.
CANAAN — The fiancee of a man shot dead by a New Hampshire state trooper says he was running away at the time, suggesting he posed no threat to the officer.
Saeti Tobin told the Valley News that 26-year-old Jesse Champney was running to avoid being arrested on an outstanding warrant. She says she was riding with him Saturday night when police began following them. The car they were driving then crashed in a snow-covered field before Champney headed toward the woods. Tobin says they were headed to return the car they borrowed.
The attorney general's office confirms Trooper Christopher O'Toole shot Champney four times in a field, killing him.
O'Toole remains on paid administrative leave.
The AG's office says the shooting remains under investigation.
Tobin says she believes Champney was not armed, but his brother, Josh, told the Valley News that Jesse sometimes carried a pocketknife.
Tobin says Jesse was scared and "wanted to be with his family for the holidays."
Jesse Champney has been in trouble with the law before. In May 2016, he was arrested after he tried to sell heroin to an undercover informant in Lebanon. When police arrived, Champney fled on foot but was captured, arrested and charged.
The Valley News also reports Champney was sentenced to prison in 2012 for other crimes.
Tobin also has had previous trouble with the law. In April, she was arrested as part of Granite Hammer, a statewide initiative to get people associated with drug-related crime off the streets. Tobin was arrested for felony possession of cocaine and transporting drugs.
NH1 News contributed to this report.