Man shot dead in front of Space Force station was a veteran with a history of mental health issues

Man shot dead in front of Space Force station was a veteran with a history of mental health issues
Man shot dead in front of Space Force station was a veteran with a history of mental health issues

Warning: This story includes discussion of suicidal ideation.

On May 13, 2022, Michael Foley drove his purple 1995 Chevrolet Prizm down the Milky Way to the new Boston Space Force Station in remote New Hampshire. Then, his headlights went out and he left, standing outside the gate with a knife in his right hand and a menacing power pellet pistol hidden out of sight to his left.

“FBI,” the 33-year-old Massachusetts veteran reportedly told guards, who told him to put down his weapon and asked what he wanted. “The FBI or your life mean nothing to me.”

A minute after those words, Frey raised his BB gun. A guard pulled the trigger of his rifle, and both bullets missed the armed men. A security contractor also shot and killed the man.

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A report released late last week by New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella ruled that Foley’s death was justified. Peter White, a military contractor working with the security firm Lockwood Hills, fired a shot that hit Foley in the forehead. New Boston Police Officer Shane Morton was the officer who missed the shot. Both were cleared in the investigation.

But the report also provides the first in-depth details and descriptions of what happened 11 months ago at the Space Force facility hidden away in rural New Hampshire, including what Foley’s family said was a background in his former military service, where he served Contacted by the FBI a few days earlier, he had expressed a death wish to multiple people and law enforcement agencies.

National Guard spokesman Deidre Forster confirmed to that Foley served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard from August 2008 to August 2014, where he achieved the rank of specialist and served “with honor” as a wheeled vehicle mechanic.

Based on the findings, officials obtained a warrant to search Foley’s family and believe he was living in his car. They also found two propane tanks and a gasoline tank, which were initially considered to be potentially explosive devices but were later determined not to be.

A subsequent search of Foley’s phone revealed he had texted a woman at the new Boston Space Force station two weeks before the incident expressing suicidal thoughts.

The woman contacted police in Massachusetts, the city where Foley was at the time, to express her concerns for his safety. Police called Foley, and he spoke to them, assuring law enforcement that he was fine; he got in touch with a community counseling center in the area. Five days later, local police were notified that Foley had called a suicide hotline.

The report detailed that on May 11, 2022, Foley called another hotline, expressing his desire to blow up the community counseling center that was recommended to him, and hoping that the police would kill him. When he was contacted again by law enforcement, he apologized for his words and said he would not harm anyone. The police issued a notice to monitor him.

His estranged mother was contacted by law enforcement and, according to her interview with law enforcement on May 11, 2022, she said her son “has struggled with mental health, was in the military before, Things get out and go to jail”.

Hours later that night, Foley called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center tip line, saying he “wanted to do something horrific to someone else or himself” and requested access to mental health services. He also admitted “to being a veteran who stole a Humvee while in the Army National Guard in 2012,” the report detailed.

Before he arrived at the Space Force station on May 13, Foley searched online for military bases in New England and read the Wikipedia entry for the new Boston space station.

The station has a long history at the Ministry of the Air Force.

During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps—the precursor to the Air Force—used the land in New Boston near Manchester-Boston Regional Airport as a bombing range for aircraft.

After World War II, the range was decommissioned, and in the 1960s, the post became a satellite tracking station. It was transferred to Air Force Space Command in the late 80s.

New Boston’s satellite operations were handed over to its command in 2021, shortly after the U.S. Space Force became a service branch.

New Boston is home to the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, which provides satellite capabilities for “more than 190 Department of Defense, national and civilian satellites conducting intelligence, weather, navigation, early warning and communications operations,” according to the Space Force.

Veterans and service members experiencing a mental health emergency can call the Veterans Crisis Line on 988 and press 1. Help is also available by texting 838255 and chatting at

— Thomas Novelly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

related: Man shot dead in front of remote Space Force station reportedly carrying weapon

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