The shooting victim was found in the green tent at center.
Burlington, Vermont - November 10, 2011
Gunfire erupted at the Occupy Vermont tent city in Burlington's City Hall Park Thursday afternoon. One man is dead.
Burlington police confirmed Thursday evening the 35-year-old military veteran died from a gunshot wound.
It was a somber scene at City Hall Park, where participants of the Occupy Vermont movement have camped out for more than a week. They shared stories of the man who died. At the same time, Burlington police were on the scene investigating the death and keeping a close eye on the situation.
Witnesses tell WCAX News this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police were not commenting on that.
The incident happened around 2 p.m.
Police say they have a weapon in their possession and they have no reason to believe that any member of the public is at risk.
Thursday evening, police were still working to secure a search warrant to go inside the tent where the shooting took place. They said it could take a couple of hours to get that.
WCAX spoke with Josh Simon, the man who was sharing a tent with the victim. He said he knew the man had a gun, but he had no idea why.
"He asked to sleep in my tent. He's a friend of a friend. We had a few conversations, he seems a little off, but not crazy. I saw the gun and was just baffled as to why he would have a gun here," Simon said.
"Certainly it gives us cause for concern. Our responsibility is to keep the public safe and when you have the discharge of a firearm in a public space like this it gives good cause to be concerned," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.
Occupy Vermont organizers and participants say the victim was very smart, though he didn't have a whole lot to say and spoke through his actions. Organizers say they did not know the man had a gun. They said the group had made rules about not having alcohol or drugs at the park, but the issue of restricting guns had never come up because they didn't think they needed to.
Police are now in the process of notifying the man's next of kin.