Police: Poor work evaluation prompted fatal shooting
Brattleboro, Vermont - August 10, 2011
According to court papers, Richard Gagnon, 59, of Marlboro, walked into the Brattleboro Food Co-op Tuesday morning carrying a Smith & Wesson handgun and shot his supervisor, Michael Martin, 59, of Dummerston, in the back of the head.
"The defendant has been charged with first-degree murder. That's murder with premeditation and intent to kill," Windham County Deputy State's Attorney David Gardenstein said.
Papers state that management at the co-op was trying to get Gagnon to resign because he had been creating a quote "hostile atmosphere."
"The affidavit of probable cause indicated that there was an employment-related dispute involving the defendant and the victim, and that the defendant came to the co-op Tuesday morning and shot and killed," Gardenstein said.
Gagnon worked at the co-op for over 20 years. According to court papers, Martin approached Gagnon last Friday and offered him severance package.
When he was arrested Tuesday, police say Gagnon put his hands in the air and told them moments before his arrest, "I don't want to hurt anyone else." He also had a recent performance evaluation with him. Papers state the evaluation raised issues about Gagnon's relationship with other employees and management style. The evaluation, signed by Martin, also stated that if the "...issue was not successfully addressed..." it could "...ultimately lead to (Gagnon's) termination..."
There were several other employees inside the store at the time of the shooting, which police say happened in a back office.
David Gardenstein: The defendant was arrested behind the Brattleboro Food Co-op yesterday morning.
Reporter Adam Sullivan: Was he waiting for police to show up?
Gardenstein: I can't characterize that he was waiting. He was behind the food co-op when police arrived.
Sullivan: Did he have the weapon in his hand?
Gardenstein: The affidavit indicates that the weapon was in his possession when police arrived.
Gagnon pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge. He's being held without bail.
The Brattleboro Food Co-op was closed again Wednesday and a grief councilor was at the store providing assistance to workers. A vigil for Martin is planned for Wednesday evening.