Police say a longtime Burlington resident is dead shot by a veteran police officer. For residents of the usually quiet neighborhood -- they say the news came as a shock.
"It's very peaceful, everybody usually knows everybody and it's very calm and welcoming," explained Stephanie Gilbert, who lives next door.
Gilbert and her husband Dan are long time residents of Burlington's New North End. They say the flurry of police activity Wednesday came as a surprise.
"It's roped off obviously something that is large happened, it also looks like they are going to have to do a criminal investigation to find out what happened," Dan Gilbert said.
Police say around 4:20 p.m. two officers responded to a house on Randy Lane for a report of a disturbance. Police say an incident began on the front lawn where a middle aged man was wielding a long-handled shovel.
"Repeated attempts to verbally de-escalate and convince him to drop the shovel were un-successful, and as he continued to wield it -- he was shot by a police officer," said Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling.
Chief Mike Schirling says police are not sure if the victim was acting aggressively towards the officers – or if he was using the shovel as a weapon. The man was taken to the hospital where he later died from gunshot wounds to his torso.
Police say they fired two shots but neighbors claim they heard at least four. Schirling says one officer fired his gun -- but both are veterans of the force. Two investigations are now underway. Vermont State Police will continue to look into the incident.
"The second is an internal investigation being conducted by the department. As a matter of practice the two officers involved are on administrative leave for the foreseeable future. Neither officer was injured during the incident," Chief Schirling said.
Schirling calls the incident tragic. The department is withholding names of the victim and officers involved until family members have been notified. For neighbors, they say it is hard to believe it happened here.
"Yeah you don't want to have a shooting anytime near you. But yeah, it's scary to have it happen so close to home," Gilbert said.
Schirling says this is the first time an officer has discharged a firearm at a person since 1997. The Police Department and the Vermont State Police will be holding a joint press conference Thursday where they will be releasing the names of the victim and the officers involved.
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