Salem, N.H., man arrested in assault on his mother; schools locked down during chase

An 18-year-old Salem, N.H., man was taken into custody this morning after attempting to kill his mother with a knife and hammer before fleeing and leading police on a three-hour hunt, Salem police said.

Thomas George allegedly attacked his mother, Catherine George, at about 8 a.m. today at an apartment on Cluff Crossing Road in Salem. He then fled in his car to Derry, N.H., said Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten.

Catherine George, who is around 50, sustained stab wounds to the neck and leg and multiple hits from a hammer on her body. She was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston by a medical helicopter, Patten said. He did not know her condition.

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Once in Derry, Thomas George abandoned his car on Kendall Pond Road and stole a Chevrolet Blazer that he drove back to Salem, Patten said. He was taken into custody in Salem at about 11 a.m.

Police shut down Salem High School during the hunt because George has a younger sibling enrolled at the school.

“We felt that with an armed suspect who had attempted a homicide of his mother, we weren’t sure were he was headed,” Patten said. “We locked down the school as a precautionary measure.”

Pinkerton High School and two other schools in Derry were also put in lockdown mode because of their proximity to George’s abandoned car, Patten said.

George is facing a charge of first-degree assault, but his charges could be upgraded. He is to be arraigned this afternoon in Salem District Court.