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Veteran with mental health issues fatally shot outside Space Force station

Police lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
April 14, 2023

A man who was shot dead by security guards outside the New Boston Space Force Station in New Hampshire in 2022 was a veteran struggling with mental health issues.

A new report from the New Hampshire attorney general’s office has shed light on the events that led to 33-year-old Michael Foley arriving at the facility, threatening the guards with a BB gun, and being fatally shot in the forehead, reported.

READ MORE: ‘Gate runner’ shot trying to illegally enter military base in SC

Foley showed up at the New Boston Space Force Station after 11:30 p.m. on May 13 and refused to identify himself, saying only, “FBI,” according to the report. He eventually said, “FBI or your life means nothing to me,” and moments later pointed at the guards what was later determined to be a BB gun. He was fatally struck by one of three shots fired at him.

The subsequent investigation found that Foley had served in the Massachusetts National Guard and expressed suicidal thoughts. In the days before his death, he called multiple suicide and threat hotlines, making alarming statements that drew law enforcement attention.

A spokeswoman for the National Guard Bureau, Deidre Forster, told that Foley served from 2008 to 2014 in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, where he served “honorably” as a wheeled vehicle mechanic and reached the rank of specialist.

READ MORE: Sailor dies after gate-runner crashes at Virginia military base

Foley “expressed suicidal ideation” on a suicide hotline two weeks before his death outside the Space Force facility, according to the report. 

Two days before his death, on May 11, Foley called another hotline and said he wanted to blow up a counseling center that had been recommended to him. The report said he told the hotline operator “that he was going to get shot in the head before the end of the night and hoped that the police had their bullets with them.”

He later apologized to law enforcement. That day, his estranged mother told police that Foley “had struggled with mental health, was in the Army before, but left and went to jail for something,” according to the report.

The same night, Foley called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center Tip Line. He said he “wanted to do something terrorist to others or himself” and admitted “being a veteran and having stolen a Humvee while in the Army National Guard in 2012,” according to the report. He also requested mental health services.

Before arriving at the New Boston Space Force Station, he searched online for New England military bases and read the Space Force station’s Wikipedia entry, according to the report.