Police investigating gunfire incident in downtown Burlington

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 8:07 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 8:22 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Police are investigating yet another gunfire incident in Burlington’s City Hall Park. Authorities say no one appeared to be injured, but they don’t know what prompted the shooting or who was responsible.

It happened around 8 p.m. In a video provided to WCAX News, you can hear what sounds like three gunshots fired, and see people running to local businesses for safety.

“I was inside the Flynn ushering some customers inside the facility for a performance taking place,” said Michael VanGulden, the owner of Chocolate Thunder, which helps with downtown security. “One of the customers came up to me and said they heard gunshots outside City Hall Park. We did what we could to usher people in the facility in a calm manner.”

Police say a man driving a white pickup got out of the truck on College Street, then approached someone by the benches in the park.

“They exchanged words; then the man who had exited the pickup truck discharged rounds. We have proof of a discharge, but we currently don’t have anyone who is injured,” Acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Downtown resident Chris Haessly was leaving his apartment when neighbors alerted him to the situation around 7 p.m.

“I saw some folks standing around and they said we heard a ‘pop, pop, pop’ and folks ran out of the park,” he said. “It must have been right before that because police hadn’t even arrived on scene yet.”

The park has been the site of multiple attacks in recent months, including a murder earlier this month.

Haessly says he isn’t too surprised this happened, but he wishes it would stop.

“In light of the circumstances, I think we can maybe take a look at how our limited resources are getting deployed and maybe getting some foot patrols back here in the downtown core,” he said.

Murad says it is incidents like this where a new Gunfire Task Force, which includes partnerships with federal and state agencies, should be able to help.

“With the resources that we’ve got, we are leveraging additional resources through this task force,” Murad said. “We are trying to make strong cases. We are working hard with our prosecutorial partners to actually incarcerate those people.”

Murad added that most of the shooting incidents have involved the homeless and that Wednesday’s incident appears no different. Police will run ballistics on casings found at the scene and review surveillance video in the coming days.

Police have investigated more than 24 gunfire incidents in the city this year.

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