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Vt. AG: Police justified in shooting chase suspect - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. AG: Police justified in shooting chase suspect

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -
Vermont attorney general, Bill Sorrell, says Vermont State Police officers who shot at a suspect dozens of times had the law on their side. The suspect's attorney sees the video evidence differently. 

State police officers fired 29 shots at a suspect following a high-speed chase in late May.

The state's top attorney determined police acted within the law, seventy days after a high-speed chase ended with gunfire in Barton.

Eric Jackson, 28, is paralyzed as a result. Investigations determined that Trooper Seth Loomis and Sergeant Denis Girouard of the Vermont State Police fired 29 times.

"It's a lot of bullets, yes," said Sorrell. "They're authorized to use force to stop the threat and they fire their service weapons until the threat stopped."

Sorrell says the officers feared Jackson intended to run them over in the car he allegedly stole and adds that most of the bullets hit that vehicle.

But a few are still lodged within Jackson who suffered gunshot wounds to the face, stomach, shoulder and hand.

"Factually it's a little sparse," said David Sleigh, Jackson's Attorney.

Jackson's attorney challenges the Attorney General's conclusion that the state police faced the threat of death or serious injury.

He bases that claim on dash-cam video of the incident.

"That's all I have had to review on my end and we've been trying to have Eric arraigned so we can have access to the probable cause affidavit but that hasn't happened for whatever reason," said Sleigh.

He points to a first set of gunfire and a second, noting there's no movement of Jackson's car between the two.

Vermont's Director of the State Police issued this statement Wednesday following the news:

"The actions of our troopers helped protect our community during a dangerous and life threatening event; however it would not be appropriate to comment further, as there is an on-going criminal investigation involving Eric Jackson."

Police say Jackson was on escape status from the Department of Corrections at the time of the incident.

They say he stole three cars that night and hit speeds up to 100 miles per hour during the chase. The sergeant and trooper have since returned to work.

Related Stories:

Vt. police release video of shootout with suspect

Troopers in Barton shooting return to work

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