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Essex Shooting Rampage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Essex Shooting Rampage

Essex, Vermont - August 24, 2006

Police say the shooting spree through Essex began with a break-up.

"About 12:45 A.M. we had received a phone call from Andrea Lambesis that indicated she had had a fight with her ex-boyfriend," Essex Police Chief David Demag explained at a press conference Thursday night.

Christopher Williams, 26, was allegedly on the hunt for his ex-girlfriend. He went to her house on Stannard Road-- didn't find her-- but found her mother. Linda Lambesis, 57, was shot dead. From there he went to Essex Elementary School, where Andrea worked.

"We are assuming he went there because that's where his girlfriend had gone, because she had an in-service that day," explained Acting Chittenden County State's Attorney Margaret Vincent.

Williams didn't find her, but he did shoot two others. Teacher Mary Alicia Shanks, 56, was killed. Mary Snedeker, 52, of Essex Junction was shot. She's listed in good condition at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

"I know he went there specifically as it related to the domestic dispute as it related to his girlfriend. I'm not sure why he shot any other individuals, what his motive was at that point," said Demag.

While police responded to the school, Williams went to Jericho Road. That's where he allegedly shot Chad Johansen, 26, an acquaintance of his who worked at IBM. Williams then turned the gun on himself-- he shot himself twice in the head. Both men are in fair condition.

"At 3:00 P.M. we received information of shots being fired in the vicinity of 30 Jericho Road. Officers responded and took Christopher Williams into custody," explained Demag.

Vincent says it's too early to know what charges Williams may face.

Police say responding to the shootings took the cooperation of every law enforcement agency in Chittenden County.

"As you can imagine, anytime you have anything at the school, it's very disturbing. To have a situation evolving where you have three different scenes, and it was still evolving and we didn't have a complete handle on how many people were involved, what motive was, is always troubling," said Demag.

Essex is scheduled to start school next week. Police say they do not expect that to change. But of course, with such a difficult ordeal, the school may decide its teachers and its families needs a little more time.

Kate Duffy - Channel 3 News

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