A former prison gang leader who was active in the white supremacist movement died shortly after midnight on Sunday in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant after being shot multiple times, according to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.
Claremont officers who were called to Imperial Buffet and Lounge on Washington Street found Jesse Jarvis, 36, suffering from gunshot wounds. Jarvis later died at the scene, according to a news release.
The attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting. Authorities have not yet released a motive for the shooting nor have they named a suspect. No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as of Sunday afternoon, Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said during a phone interview.
On Sunday morning, the State Police Major Crime Unit had the restaurant’s parking lot cordoned off. A tarp surrounded by cars could be seen in one area. Investigators also brought in a fire truck to take aerial photos of the scene.
Although Imperial Buffet and Lounge’s restaurant was closed at 9:30 Saturday night, the adjacent bar was open when the shooting occurred, co-owner Tony Zhang said.
“I don’t even know what the hell happened out there,” Zhang said in a phone interview Sunday morning. “Nothing happened inside. It was happening in the parking lot.”
There didn’t appear to be any problems inside the bar itself, Zhang said. He was working, he said, but did not see the shooting.
Video posted on social media shows customers in the bar gathered around the window, and patrons can be heard saying they had been asked to produce identification for the police.
On the video, officers can be heard at times asking customers to remain calm as arguing breaks out.
Jarvis had been in and out of prison for much of the past two decades. In 1999, he was arrested for shoplifting, resisting arrest and attempting to escape from a hospital, where he was being treated for acute intoxication.
In a 2004 letter to a judge, Jarvis recounted a challenging childhood, one in which he learned to mask personal pain with drugs and alcohol. A 2000 substance abuse evaluation revealed he had been using drugs and drinking since age 12, according to a profile of Jarvis that was part of 2013 Concord Monitor series on a New Hampshire prison gang.
In 2005, Jarvis was arrested for kicking two Claremont police officers.
In 2008, an attempt to arrest Jarvis ended of the death of Jarvis’s father. Jarvis was suspected in an assault and stealing a Nazi flag. Police went to execute an arrest warrant for Jarvis at the home of his father, Anthony Jarvis, in Charlestown.
The younger Jarvis surrendered to police, but Anthony Jarvis was shot and killed by a state trooper during a standoff in a trailer on the property. The elder Jarvis fired a handgun as the trooper entered the trailer. The trooper, who was struck in the thigh, returned fire, killing Anthony Jarvis.
Police have identified Jarvis as a white supremacist who founded and was once president of the Brotherhood of White Warriors, New Hampshire’s only homegrown prison gang.
He and three other inmates are thought to have founded BOWW circa 2010 at the Northern New Hampshire Corrections Facility in Berlin, the Monitor reported.
Asked about the gang in 2013 during a parole board hearing, Jarvis said that he had been “a child” when the group formed and had moved on.
“And at that time, I thought it was meaningful,” he said. “I have no concern with the people in BOWW or my membership in BOWW.”
More recently, Jarvis was listed as the administrator of an online white supremacist group.
When a Valley News reporter asked last month about the Facebook group, Jarvis responded in a message, “We must secure an existence for our race and a future for Aryan children!”
On Sunday, Jarvis’s friends described him as a generous person who often defended those around him.
“He truly was a great man who stood for those who couldn’t stand alone,” said Phil Mulvey, a lifelong friend of Jarvis. “He was much more than the crazy racist many try to portray him as.”
Jarvis was the type of person who would give a stranger his last dollar, Mulvey said.
“We both had our trouble in life, but he was one of the best people I ever met,” said Andrew Conrad, who grew up in Claremont with Jarvis. “This is a real shame, nobody deserves to go out like this.”
New Hampshire’s Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval scheduled an autopsy for 9 a.m. Monday. Police are asking anyone with information on the shooting to contact state police Sgt. William Bright at 223-4381.
(Tim Camerato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.)