Dover, NH - NOTTINGHAM - Hold up in his small single-story home and surrounded by propane tanks he threatened to ignite, a local man with a "volatile personality" held law enforcement officers at bay for nearly six hours Monday before peacefully surrendering shortly after 2 p.m. A state police tactical team entered the home of Lawrence Beam, 45, of 100 Old Turnpike Rd., where Beam had barricaded himself inside with two
100-pound propane tanks under threats he would detonate the tanks at 5 p.m. unless he received a nationally televised apology from a district court judge, two police chiefs and a police sergeant.
Police would not name the judge or officers on Monday, but Police Chief
Philip English said Beam has a long-standing distain for local law enforcement and the courts - history that includes a neighbor dispute and complaints about parking on Route 4.
The standoff began at approximately 8:30 a.m. when Beam called the
Nottingham Police department and issued his demands for a nationally televised apology, said English. The state police were immediately called for assistance, along with SWAT.
Meanwhile, Beam remained inside his yellow ranch along Route 4. Inside the small house, he spent four hours on the phone with State Police Sgt. Richard Mitchell, threatening ignite the massive stores of propane if he saw any member of law enforcement or the public. Beside him were two, 100-poundtanks of the volatile gas, while two more remained outside the home.
"Joggers, bikers, anyone could have set him off," said State Police Lt.
Robert Quinn, of Troop A in Epping. As a result, police shut down all traffic along Route 4, from Smoke Street to Route 152, for six hours, as they evacuated 35 households within the 500-foot blast radius.
English said Beam may have been having some personal financial problems and was known to have a "volatile personality," including a tendency to get upset over relatively minor issues.
Beam has a criminal record, both in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, said English, but he could not elaborate on the nature of the crimes.
English said he had spoken with Beam's ex-wife several times during day and she indicated her ex-husband had been argumentative and disagreeable in recent days.
Beam's house, which he shares with his ex-wife Dot, has a homemade "For
Sale" sign posted outside, along with multiple "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" signs.
Mitchell ultimately negotiated a peaceful end to the confrontation.
Beam was arrested without incident and transported to Exeter Hospital for a psychological evaluation, based on his threats to harm himself.
No one else was in the home or involved in the standoff. He will be charged will felony reckless conduct based on his threats to ignite several hundred pounds of propane.
The Rockingham County Sheriffs Office, Northwood, Lee and Barrington Police Departments responded and assisted with traffic.