Police shoot off-duty Vt. sheriff’s deputy after gunfight in Northern NY
RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A Vermont sheriff’s deputy is in the hospital recovering after a shootout in Northern New York. The off-duty Rutland County sheriff’s deputy was allegedly part of a gunfight early Sunday morning and was then shot by police responding to the scene.
The deputy, who police identified as Vito Caselnova, is in stable condition at a hospital in Albany.
The sound of gunshots rang out in downtown Saratoga Springs early Sunday morning, and a local police officer commanded an off-duty Rutland County sheriff’s deputy to drop his gun.
It all happened just after 3 a.m. on Caroline Street in the heart of Saratoga Springs. Police say Caselnova fired shots following an argument at a bar.
Security video from a camera across the street shows police who were patrolling nearby responded in seconds.
“They make that turn, what they see is the Vermont deputy standing on the sidewalk, his gun leveled and moving from side to side and pointing the gun,” said James Montagnino, the commissioner of public safety in Saratoga Springs.
After repeatedly ordering the deputy to drop his gun, the Saratoga officers opened fire. The deputy was hit 10 times. Caselnova is in the hospital and is expected to be OK.
Caselnova’s lawyer said on Monday that his client was defending himself and didn’t realize that police were shouting at him to drop his gun.
The Rutland County Sheriff’s Office said Caselnova was put on administrative leave while New York authorities investigate.
“He is unpaid at this time,” Rutland County Sheriff David Fox said. “He will be out extensively with his injuries for sure.”
The sheriff says Caselnova works for the county sheriff’s office part-time, three days a week. Caselnova lives in Saratoga Springs and has a New York state concealed carry permit.
“We do have a policy where you can carry off duty. Most of the people that carry off duty carry through the Vermont state firearms qualification with that off-duty weapon,” Fox said.
Deputies are allowed to carry a weapon off duty but the weapon used in this shooting was not Caselnova’s service weapon.
Officials in New York released surveillance and body camera footage just hours after the incident, which is uncommon in investigations like these. Local leaders say they want to be transparent.
“We believe this information was so vital to get out to people because our community requires we be as transparent as possible,” said Mayor Ron Kim, D-Saratoga Springs.
Vermont State Police say they are aware of the situation but are not involved in the investigation.
The investigation is in its earliest stages and no charges have been filed yet.
The criminal justice council which comes up with police training and procedures has also been notified.
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