Two men are dead after what appears to be a murder-suicide in Peacham. It all began with a 911 call shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Police say the gunshots were fired at a house on Slack Street in Peacham. A woman in the house told police her husband went out to meet an unknown white van or SUV in the driveway. Shots went off and she ran to the basement, later escaping to a neighbor's house to call police.
"Ms. Peabody said she could someone enter the house, hearing footsteps walking above her. She retreated to a neighbor's where she called 911," Vt. State Police Lt. Bob Cushing said.
Police and sheriffs cordoned off the area and waited for backup, bringing in a special tactical unit and more than a dozen troopers. They also made use of a National Guard helicopter that flew low over the forests and fields.
Some visitors from out of town watched the events unfold.
"A helicopter came in flying like 50 feet above the house over here and hovered out over this field over here for like 45 minutes, and then of course there was a bunch of traffic on the road-- police vehicles, armored vehicles," said Steve Galinat, a visitor from Connecticut.
After approaching the scene, police say they found the bodies of two men. At a press conference, they identified them as 50-year-old Mark Peabody, the owner of the home, who was found on the lawn outside. Inside, they found who they believe is Peabody's wife's ex-husband.
"Through the course of the investigation, it was learned that Ms. Peabody had an ongoing disagreement with her ex-husband, identified as John Jackson, age 59, of New Hampshire," Cushing said.
Neighbors say Peabody worked at the Littleton, N.H., Supervisory Union school system and that he was a former principal of Peacham Elementary School. The neighborhood where he lives is affluent, with big homes and horse pastures. With little information to go on most of the day, neighbors said they were on edge, one even patrolling the perimeter of his property with a pistol.
Police say this is still a very active investigation-- lots of leads still to go on. There will be an autopsy to confirm the identity of the man who appears to be John Jackson of Amherst, N.H.
A bomb squad was also up at the house Wednesday afternoon. They said there was a suspicious package that was found inside Jackson's van or SUV. They were looking into that.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111.