For Immediate Release
October 1, 2019
Concord, NH – Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and New Hampshire State Police Colonel Christopher J. Wagner, announce that the Attorney General's Office has amended its conclusion regarding the officer-involved shooting incident that occurred in Claremont, New Hampshire, that resulted in the death of Cody Lafont.
On September 25, 2016, then Claremont Police Corporal Ian Kibbe responded to 53 Congress Street in Claremont after several 911 calls to the police from the resident there, Cody Lafont. Corporal Kibbe later told authorities that after he arrived, he encountered Mr. Lafont standing at the front door holding a handgun. Corporal Kibbe said that he ordered Mr. Lafont to drop the gun but instead, Mr. Lafont stepped towards Corporal Kibbe and moved his gun in the officer's direction. At that point, believing that Mr. Lafont was going to shoot him and fearing for his life, Corporal Kibbe fired his service weapon three times, fatally wounding Mr. Lafont.
The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office and the New Hampshire State Police investigated the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The Attorney General issued a detailed report on October 19, 2016. The report concluded that Corporal Kibbe's actions were legally justified and thus, no criminal charges were filed against him. A copy of that report is attached to this news release.
In March 2018, the Attorney General's Office was advised of potential criminal conduct on Corporal Kibbe's part, which had taken place while he was acting in his capacity as a police officer. A criminal investigation was initiated, which ultimately led to Corporal Kibbe's conviction for two crimes concerning the falsification of documentation related to a police search, unsworn falsification and obstructing government administration. Those crimes were committed about a year and a half after Mr. Lafont's death and were unrelated to the incident that led to his death.
There was no connection between Mr. Lafont's 2016 death and Mr. Kibbe's 2018 criminal convictions. Nonetheless, the Attorney General's Office undertook a further review of the incident that led to Mr. Lafont's death. The purpose for this further review was to re-examine the facts and circumstances of the 2016 incident in light of the crimes Mr. Kibbe committed that implicated his credibility as a police officer.
The subsequent review consisted of a re-examination of all the evidence, taking into account all of the information gathered during the 2018 investigation into Mr. Kibbe's unrelated crimes. That review turned up no new information or any significant discrepancies between Mr. Kibbe's statements concerning the shooting of Mr. Lafont and the evidence gathered in 2016. In addition, Dr. Marilyn Miller, a nationally recognized expert in crime scene reconstruction was retained to review the 2016 shooting incident. Dr. Miller concluded that "the crime scene investigation was done in an effective manner" and that the physical evidence at the shooting scene was generally consistent with Mr. Kibbe's statements about the incident. Dr. Miller's complete report is also attached to this news release.
Therefore, based on the original investigation, the subsequent review, and Dr. Miller's report, the evidence that supported the conclusion that Mr. Kibbe acted reasonably under the law when he used deadly force against Mr. Lafont is unchanged, meaning that the State could not disprove Mr. Kibbe's self-defense claim. Nevertheless, Mr. Kibbe's subsequent criminal convictions of crimes of dishonesty committed in his capacity as a police officer have negatively impacted this Office's evaluation of his credibility. While Mr. Kibbe was deemed credible in the original investigation, his credibility is now in doubt given his criminal convictions. As such, the Attorney General's Office can no longer conclude that the 2016 officer-involved shooting of Mr. Lafont was "legally justified." Rather, this Office's final conclusion regarding that incident has been amended to read as follows:
Accordingly, based on a review of the case and considering all the evidence, including Mr. Kibbe's subsequent criminal conduct and the questions it raised about his credibility as a police officer, the Attorney General's Office can no longer conclude that Mr. Kibbe's actions were legally justified. Instead, the Office has concluded that it could not disprove Mr. Kibbe's self-defense claim, beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore no criminal charges will be filed against Mr. Kibbe as a result of Mr. Lafont's death.
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New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301