Prosecutor: Recent Burlington shootings involved many of the same people

Third suspect arrested in July 31 shooting in downtown Burlington
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:58 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Police have arrested a third suspect in connection with a shooting in Burlington, and now we’re learning more about the recent string of gunfire incidents in the city.

Burlington police say Walter Hamiid Jones, 25, was taken into custody without incident on Thursday and is currently being held without bail. Jones was wanted in connection with a July 31 shooting outside the Simon’s Mobil downtown.

Police say Jones is a Bloods gang member from Massachusetts.

There is already a warrant out for his arrest and that he has a lengthy criminal history, including 14 convictions for things like home invasion, assault and cocaine distribution.

Walter Hamiid Jones was wanted by police as a suspect in the July 31 shootout in Burlington.
Walter Hamiid Jones was wanted by police as a suspect in the July 31 shootout in Burlington.(WCAX)

Now, Chittenden County’s top prosecutor is speaking out about the shootings.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George says some of the recent gunfire incidents throughout the city have the same people of interest.

She adds violence from this small group could be fueled by some sort of rivalry but says gang violence is not at play in these situations.

Three men fired multiple gunshots at each other early July 31 at Simon's Mobil on South...
Three men fired multiple gunshots at each other early July 31 at Simon's Mobil on South Winooski Avenue in Burlington.(WCAX)

George says despite 12 gunfire incidents over the last year, overall, crime in the city is down and people should feel safe in the downtown area.

“They’re complicated cases but continue to investigate those to figure out who exactly is involved and what we can do to make the community safe from those individuals... But not let that give the community this idea that we’re all unsafe and anybody at any moment is going to be shooting because that’s not the reality... That’s not what’s happening. These cases are very specific,” George said.

George did acknowledge that the way these late-night shootings unfolded has put people at risk and she says those involved need to be held accountable.

Police and prosecutors are still unsure of the motive behind these incidents and Burlington police are still investigating.

Acting Burlington Deputy Police Chief Wade Labrecque says the department is currently working with local partners on the overall uptick in shootings this year.

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