Police consider shots fired during Ossipee home invasion were in self-defense

February 20, 2014
OSSIPEE — Police here say that no charges will be brought against an Ossipee man they say defended himself when he fired shots during a home invasion on Friday, Feb. 7.

It was around 7 p.m. that evening when Ossipee police, along with officers from several area departments, responded to a home on Jude Boulevard. They had received a report that there had been a home invasion and the homeowner, John Mason, had fired shots at the suspects, who had fled the scene.

A call to the Ossipee Police Department seeking information about the incident was not returned as of press time. The Department did post a press release on their Facebook page. That release indicated that after police conducted their initial investigation, including interviewing Mason, they were able to obtain warrants for the arrest of James Brooks, 31, of Ossipee who they intended to charge with burglary, armed robbery, trespassing, threatening, and reckless driving.

Seven days later, Feb. 14, police arrested Brooks at a home on Route 16B in Center Ossipee, after receiving a tip from Mason as to his whereabouts.

Brooks was arraigned in Third Circuit Court in Ossipee Feb. 18 and is being held, without bail, at Carroll County House of Corrections. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Ossipee Police Department is quite familiar with Brooks as officers have arrested him in the past for drug possession and "violent acts." Including the Feb. 14 arrest, Brooks has been booked at Carroll County House of Corrections 10 times, dating back to 2002.

In an interview Tuesday, Feb. 18, Mason recounted the events of Feb. 7 and how he was able to maintain his composure and protect his family. It was around 7 p.m. when Mason was clearing the dinner dishes. His three-year-old stepson was sitting on the couch watching television and his wife, Kim, was not feeling well and was asleep in the bedroom. Suddenly, Mason said, the door opened and there stood two men, one armed with a steak knife, who demanded money and drugs. Mason said he told the men, one whom he recognized to be Brooks, that he did not have any drugs but would give them whatever money he had. Mason said he "played it cool" and tried to talk calmly to the men, so as not to frighten his stepson. He knew he had to get to his bedroom to retrieve his handgun, but the men were standing between him and his bedroom door. He said he was able to convince the men that the money was in his bedroom and he needed to go in there to retrieve it. While Brooks followed him into the bedroom, the other man waited in the living room. By this time, Kim had awakened and had her hand on the gun. As Mason went to the nightstand to get his last $100 to give to the men, or so Brooks thought, he also was able to grab the handgun and point it at Brooks. Mason said the two men went "slipping and sliding" out of the house to a waiting car as he chased after them. Mason fired a total of seven rounds, hitting the four-door compact car "several times" as, he said, it was being driven away by a female with both men inside.

Mason lamented that the days are gone when a person could leave their home or their cars unlocked and not worry about someone breaking in to do harm. Although worried during the incident that he might face charges for defending his family with a gun, he couldn't let them be hurt by these two seemingly desperate men. He also wasn't about to let the two men take the last $100 he had, money he counted on for his family's needs. Mason primarily does tree work for a living and with the stormy winter, work has been slow. While he has been able to pick up odd jobs shoveling snow, he said he works hard for his money and every penny counts, so he is not going to just give it away.

The police press release states that the incident remains under investigation and "more arrests are possible." Meanwhile, Mason said his house and vehicles are locked and he is still armed.

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