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Associated Press
Town Administrator Karen Anderson posts a sign in front of the town hall, Friday, April 13, 2012, in Greenland, N.H. A man suspected of killing the town's police chief and wounding four other officers was found dead along with a female acquaintance early Friday, ending an overnight standoff that plunged Greenland into fear and grief. (AP Photo/Foster's Daily Democrat, EJ Hersom)

GREENLAND, N.H. — Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney had a final drug bust planned before retiring from the small-town New Hampshire department after more than a quarter-century in law enforcement.

Trying to rid a neighborhood of its menace just days before retirement proved to be the 48-year-old chief's final act.

"He died trying to make our community safer," said John Penacho, chairman of the town's Board of Selectman.

Maloney was trying to serve a search warrant Thursday night when a suspect opened fire, killing the chief, injuring four officers from other departments, and plunging the southeastern New Hampshire community of Greenland into a grief that residents say they won't soon get over.

After a tense overnight standoff, the suspected gunman, Cullen Mutrie, and a female acquaintance were found dead in the home early Friday in an apparent murder-suicide or double suicide.

The chief's death rocked a seven-member force more accustomed to reports of burglar alarms and barking dogs than violent crime. Maloney was liked, respected and less than two weeks from retirement.

"In those final days, he sacrificed his life in public service," said Attorney General Michael Delaney.

Police Sgt. Dawn Sawyer, who was one of the seven members of the force and had worked with Maloney for 19 years, thanked the community for its support as about 200 people, some hugging and crying gathered for a Friday evening candlelight vigil outside Town Hall.