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Police ID suspect in Newport standoff - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police ID suspect in Newport standoff

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NEWPORT, Vt. -

It was a wake-up call no one expected.

"It was scary," said Kristi Farrar, a neighbor.

Around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Derick Niles, 36, called 911 and said there were 400 police officers surrounding his Highland Avenue home in Newport attempting to attack him. When Newport Police arrived, there were no officers-- instead, just Niles on top of his garage with a rifle.

"He's kind of quiet, comes and goes. Sketchy is kind of the word," Farrar said.

A 15-year-old carrying a rifle was also outside behind the home.

"In the adjacent building there was 10 people in the building," Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto said.

Ten family members-- nine children and one woman-- were being held hostage. The Vermont State Police and Border Patrol were called in for backup. Police evacuated four nearby homes and apartment buildings.

"I saw a lot of enforcement focusing on that house over there," said Mark Campbell, a neighbor.

Some neighbors, like Campbell, chose to stay.

"They told everybody get out, get out because there's going to be someone possibly start shooting a gun at people's homes," Campbell said.

"He was yelling something along the lines of I will kill everyone or something along those lines of that and myself," Farrar said.

"To have someone armed with a gun and hallucinating, you don't know what the outcome could be. So, I would say they were in great danger," DiSanto said.

Vermont State Police negotiated with the gunman for hours. Police also had eyes on Niles with live video from a border patrol helicopter above the garage.

"He was on his garage roof talking with his cellphone and then he had another phone he was texting with while he talking," Campbell said.

Around 10 a.m., the nine children were evacuated through a window. About an hour later, the crisis negotiation team got Niles to peacefully give himself up and took him into custody.

"Initial investigation would suggest there's some relationship to drugs," DiSanto said.

He was evaluated at North Country Hospital before he was arraigned at Vermont Superior Court in Newport. Niles had multiple outbursts during the hearing.

Niles denied charges of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. He was ordered to get an inpatient mental health evaluation.

No one else involved in the case is facing criminal charges at this time, and police say none are expected.

BACKGROUND ON DERICK NILES

Derick Niles, 36, is in police custody. The Newport man is accused of holing up inside his Highland Avenue home with nine children and a woman. The standoff went on for hours.

But Newport police say this is not their first violent interaction with him. Although the city's police chief would not get into details of his crimes, he says Niles has been convicted of:

  • Disorderly conduct (2013 & 1999)
  • Resisting arrest (2013)
  • Contempt of court (2011)
  • Unlawful trespass (1999)
  • Simple assault (1996)

In 2011, Niles was ordered by the court to undergo a competency examination after the Orleans County state's attorney told a judge Niles followed him around the courthouse with a video camera.

Niles spoke to WCAX News last September about Roger Pion, the man accused of using a massive farm tractor to crush several police cruisers. Niles was a Pion fan.

"He's a folk hero," Niles told WCAX News in September 2012. "He's got a following. He's worldwide. He did what everyone around here has been dreaming of doing."

Niles told us he even donated $10 to Pion's defense fund and believed the police were corrupt.

"Because he's fighting for the people. Because we are oppressed by the police," Niles explained.

According to Niles' Facebook profile, he graduated from North Country Union High School in 1995 and Vermont Tech in 1998. He lists himself as the Chief Technology Officer of North Country Communications, a broadband internet service provider. But the secretary of state's office lists the business as terminated as of May 2012.

In his most recent Twitter post, where he goes by @vt_redneck03060, he appears to make a joke about looking for antianxiety meds, saying, "Looking my lorazapams..... #gotjamey."

As Niles was escorted out of the courtroom Wednesday, he was screaming about not selling meth, people out to get him and the Hells Angels.

"Almost get killed for not selling meth and this is what they do to me!" Niles said.

Niles is being held for lack of $100,000 bail. Police say they are continuing to investigate what caused Niles' behavior.

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2 suspects in custody after standoff in Newport

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