Police investigating death of inmate at Vermont prison

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 6:31 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2023 at 1:46 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Police are investigating the death of an inmate at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

Vermont State Police say Shawn Gardner, 37, of Newport, was found unresponsive in the shower area at the prison at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lifesaving efforts were not successful and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Investigators say they found Gardner had an unknown substance in his possession before he became unresponsive. Toxicology testing will be done but those results can take weeks or months.

Police say Gardner was a federal detainee who was housed in a segregated unit within the correctional facility. He was initially held on Tuesday at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport and was transferred to the St. Albans prison before a hearing in federal court Wednesday. They say Gardner collapsed shortly after he returned from that hearing.

His death is not considered suspicious at this time.

The Vermont Department of Corrections says Gardner has a 20-year criminal history including a sex offense and drug charges.