Burlington Police have identified the man killed in an officer involved shooting late Wednesday afternoon in the New North End.
They say Wayne Brunette, 49, a long time resident of 85 Randy Lane, was shot by an officer after he threatened police in his front yard with a shovel.
Vermont State Police officials, who are now in charge of the investigation, say Burlington Police officers were dispatched to the home at 4:19 p.m. after a call from Brunette's mother saying that her son, who lives in an upstairs apartment, was acting irrational and destroying property.
When the two officers arrived they encountered Brunette on the front lawn. Police say he was brandishing a long-handled pointed spade shovel and going towards the officers. They say after multiple attempts ordering Brunette to drop the shovel, Burlington Police Corporal Ethan Thibault fired shots from his .40 caliber Glock, hitting Brunette.
Police say Brunette was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Corporal Thibault was identified as a 12-year veteran of the force. Both Thibault and Corporal Brent Navari, who also responded to the scene, have been placed on administrative leave.
According to WCAX reports, Brunette had contacts with the police dating back several years, including an incident in 2001 when the State Police bomb squad found several explosives in his home.
Community members told WCAX that they are disturbed by the need for the use of deadly force by police in this instance. Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling addressed those concerns at a morning press conference.
"We train officers in that continuum of response resistance, or use of force. A baseball bat, a shovel, a large stick, a large branch -- all of those things are potentially deadly weapons. We see them used as deadly weapons in assaults that occur on members of the community and officers in other circumstances. So the idea that a shovel is not potentially an imminent threat is not one in the realm of law enforcement training, whether it's here or anywhere else in the nation. I think the law enforcement standard is very clear and I think the court standards that evaluate those cases are also fairly clear -- that something like that can clearly be a deadly weapon," Chief Schirling said.
Stay tuned for a full report on the Channel 3 News at 5 and 6.
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