MANCHESTER, N.H. — A man charged with shooting and wounding two police officers last year is changing his plea.
Ian MacPherson has pleaded not guilty to two counts each of attempted murder and first-degree assault. Court officials said Tuesday a plea and sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 8, but the details are unclear.
MacPherson is accused of shooting Manchester officers Ryan Hardy and Matthew O’Connor in May 2016 while they were chasing him because he matched the description of a suspect in a gas station armed robbery.
Hardy was shot in the face and torso. O’Connor was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. Both have since returned to work.
MacPherson’s attorneys previously indicated they might seek an insanity defense. His public defender was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Shortly after the shooting, MacPherson’s father said he didn’t understand why MacPherson, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and received mental health care, was able to buy a gun. And the case sparked debate among politicians, policy experts and gun rights advocates over whether MacPherson should have been able to buy a gun, given his criminal record and mental health issues.
Court records show MacPherson agreed to undergo a mental health counseling program in 2012 after assaulting his father and pleading no contest to simple assault. A police affidavit said he went through a background check before buying the gun he’s accused of using to shoot the officers, but it doesn’t specify whether he passed it.
Federal guidelines bar someone from buying a gun if he has been deemed incompetent to stand trial or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, neither of which happened in the 2012 case. And a child-on-parent domestic assault doesn’t trigger the federal gun ban.