"I've seen the guy around, I've never seen him hurt anybody. I just don't understand how it escalated so quickly into what it was," said Jeremy Sterling.
The scene stunned witnesses and was partially caught on tape.
A call Thursday to Winooski police claimed 35-year-old Isaac Sage was trespassing at the Woolen Mill Apartment Complex. Officers Jason Nokes and Chris Machavern found the suspect at the intersection of West Allen and Weaver Streets.
When they approached him, police say Sage became agitated and punched Nokes in the face, giving the officer a concussion and breaking his nose. Things escalated from there.
"Obviously it's pretty rare to see this occur, but we want to make sure everything was followed by the book and the use of force was justified," said Chittenden County State's Attorney, T.J. Donovan.
Police say Machavern hit Sage twice with a taser without it causing any effect. Police say Sage continued to resist arrest. Nokes then shot Sage in the thigh.
"Police officers have a hard job. They work very hard and very rarely do they discharge their firearm, only in extraordinary circumstances. So, we'll get the facts and we'll figure out what happened here," said Donovan.
In the meantime, Sage is being held on $10,000 bail until he completes a mental health evaluation.
But prosecutors say it's better for Sage and society to have him behind bars.
"He's delusional and there's real concerns for Mr. Sage's mental health and his capacity to understand what's going on. And obviously that's a concern not only for Mr. Sage but for the community," said Donovan.
But witnesses say otherwise.
"There's another side of the story that I didn't see beforehand. But what I saw from my window up there to down here, just seemed a little much," said Sterling.
Vermont State Police are investigating whether the actions of Nokes and Machavern were justified. After that there will also be independent reviews by the Chittenden County Prosecutor's office and the Vermont Attorney General.
In the meantime, both officers are on leave. But this is not the first time Nokes has been on leave. Back in 2011, he was found passed out drunk behind the wheel of his truck, four times over the legal limit.
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there. More >>
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there.More >>