By BEA LEWIS, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
MEREDITH — A three-day manhunt ended Friday afternoon when the suspect in a Belmont shooting was captured by local police, allowing residents to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Jason Coucolo, 42, was taken into custody about 1:20 p.m., after he knocked on the door of a mobile home at Currier Park at 125 Livingston Road and wanted to use the phone.
"He asked if he could use my phone and mumbled something about kids," the resident recounted moments after Coucolo had been handcuffed, placed in a cruiser and whisked from the scene by Meredith police.
The resident explained he'd been up all night on Thursday with his sick son, had worked one of two jobs that morning and was napping before going to his second job, when the knock awoke him about 1:10 p.m.
"I didn't interact with him, I just called the police," the resident said, as he got into his car and left for work.
Another resident at the park said he was reading the newspaper when he happened to look outside and spotted
Coucolo coming out of the woods across Livingston Road from the trailer park, located less than 2,500 feet from the intersection with Parade Road.
"I knew it was him. I'd just looked at his picture," he said.
He watched Coucolo walk up the center driveway to the property and head directly to his neighbor's trailer and knock on the door.
Having lost his voice box to cancer six months ago, "I couldn't call police," he said, as he pressed an electronic larynx against his neck, a battery-operated device that allows him to speak. Because he doesn't have a home phone and uses a flip-style cellphone, he explained he couldn't tip off police.
Coucolo was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans, a dark-colored baseball hat and was carrying a walking stick that looked like he'd found it in the woods, said the resident.
"He didn't put up a fight. They just grabbed him. He was probably sick of running," he said of Coucolo's arrest.
With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30s, Coucolo most likely found himself cold, hungry and tired.
He was booked into the Belknap County Jail shortly before 2 p.m., and ordered held without bail pending arraignment. He has been charged with first-degree assault, criminal threatening and robbery.
"It's been just crazy that last couple of days," said Mike Collins who works at Ready Equipment at 25 Daniel Webster Highway.
On Wednesday, after authorities learned that Coucolo had reportedly rented a room at Vacation Escape Motel across the street, police converged on the property and closed the highway to all traffic. Collins and his co-worker were busy putting their showroom back in order after spending the holiday weekend at the Sandwich Fair when
they noticed the commotion.
"Police were walking around with AK's. It was surreal. You're just not used to seeing that," he said. "We started getting calls from our customers after they shut the road down asking if we were OK."
On Thursday morning, a lone Meredith cruiser was parked in their lot. Between 12:30 and 1 p.m., more than a dozen cruisers had arrived and a State Police helicopter was circling overhead. As police canvassed the woods and patrolled nearby residential neighborhoods, they advised homeowners to use common sense, lock their
doors and report any suspicious activity.
Attempts to reach police for details were unsuccessful.
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