Metro

Man asked for time alone with mom in N.H. hospital room and then opened fire, documents say

Travis Frink, of Warwick, R.I., stood with his attorney, public defender Rebecca McKinnon, during his arraignment in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Wednesday.

Jennifer Hauck /The Valley News via Associated Press/Pool

Travis Frink, of Warwick, R.I., stood with his attorney, public defender Rebecca McKinnon, during his arraignment in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Wednesday.

It seemed like a reasonable request, but one that still gave Robert Ferriere pause.

His 48-year-old stepson, Travis M. Frink, drove from Rhode Island on Tuesday to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where Frink’s mother was being treated, and asked Ferriere to leave the room so he could have time alone with her.

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Ferriere complied only after his wife, 70-year-old Pamela Ferriere, who had suffered an aneurism and was recovering in the intensive care unit, said it was OK.

What happened next horrified Robert Ferriere and caused a lockdown at the hospital that lasted for several hours.

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First, he heard screams. Then, he “turned and looked into the room and saw Frink pointing a gun at Pam and fire several shots,” a court filing said. “Frink did not say a word. Frink put the gun in a bag he had been holding and walked by Robert Ferriere without saying a word. Robert Ferriere then called for help.”

The chilling details were made public Wednesday, hours before Frink pleaded not guilty in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., to a first-degree murder charge for allegedly gunning down his mother.

He was ordered held without bail and also barred from contacting his stepfather. His public defender did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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Frink showed no obvious emotion during the brief hearing, as he stood handcuffed while wearing a jail uniform. A date for his next hearing wasn’t immediately provided.

A motive for the killing was not disclosed in court documents or during the arraignment. An affidavit filed in the case by New Hampshire State Police Sergeant Mary G. Bonilla said Frank signed into the hospital visitors’ desk around 1:15 p.m. Tuesday. A nurse named Lauren Wojtonik, 23, called 911 after seeing Frink pull out a black handgun. She took shelter in a different room and heard two gunshots followed by screams, Bonilla wrote.

Frink’s mother had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks and was scheduled to be released Friday, the affidavit said.

Police converged on the hospital soon after the shooting and arrested Frink, who waived his Miranda rights and confessed to the crime during an interview with investigators around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to the filing.

“He admitted that he went to Dartmouth-Hitchcock today to kill his mother, and shot her several times in her hospital room,” the affidavit said.

Separately Wednesday, officials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock said they are providing assistance to staff members and reviewing their security protocols in the aftermath of the killing.

“We’re reviewing everything,” said Dr. Edward J. Merrens, the hospital’s chief clinical officer. “We’re comfortable that we will continue to provide a really safe environment for patients and their families.”

Attempts to reach relatives of Frink, a Warwick, R.I., resident who turns 49 next week, for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The family has endured tragedy before.

The Associated Press reported that Frink’s wife and 3-year-old son were found dead in 2013 inside a running car that reeked of alcohol and vomit.

In 2013, Warwick police had identified the victims in the running car as Kathleen Frink, 39, and Ryan Frink, 3. They were found inside a vehicle at the Fairfax Village Apartment Complex in Warwick, police said at the time in a statement, and the vehicle had “apparently been idling for several hours.”

The statement said there were no initial indications of foul play.

“An initial investigation has determined that the victims had no known associates or relatives at this particular apartment complex,” the statement said. “Investigators also indicated that someone had heard what sounded like a child crying at around 5 p.m., however no calls were placed to the police.”

Court records in Rhode Island show Travis and Kathleen Frink had entered divorce proceedings several years before the deaths of Kathleen and Ryan.

Travis Frink’s LinkedIn page says he has worked as a computer programmer and IT specialist for more than two decades at a number of different companies.

Frink’s former employers include Stanley Bostitch, Mohegan Sun, Randstad Technologies, and United Natural Foods, the profile said.

“I have been fortunate to enjoy a classical information systems technical career,” Frink wrote on LinkedIn. “I am skilled in all areas of iSeries systems management.”

Frink had also recently posted a message to Facebook extolling volunteers who traveled to Houston to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“When disaster strikes, it’s what men do,” Frink wrote. “Real men. Heroic men. American men. And then they’ll knock back a few shots, or a few beers with like-minded men they’ve never met before, and talk about fish, or ten-point bucks, or the benefits of hollow-point ammo, or their F-150.”

He also recently posted links to a website calling for the impeachment of President Trump and a video profiling a man who fosters terminally ill children. In addition, he shared a post on Aug. 30 from another Facebook user calling for a mandatory two-year term of military service for all citizens.

“Instead of questionable restrictions and laws that don’t seem to work, let’s fix those itchy fingers instead of hiding the triggers,” the post said.

Danny McDonald, Bryan Marquard, and Emily Sweeney of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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