Burlington police called to 2 shooting incidents in 1 day at problem property

A problem property in Burlington is in the spotlight again.
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2023 at 7:04 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A problem property in Burlington is in the spotlight again. Police say they responded to two separate gunfire incidents at an apartment on Lower Church Street over the weekend. It’s a place they have been called to hundreds of times before.

WCAX News has been following the so-called nightmare on Church Street since 2018. Now, there are renewed concerns from neighbors. But one of the building’s landlords says they don’t know what else to do.

“As soon as he leaves they go back in. It’s a constant problem. We even contacted the police. Not much they can do either,” said Charlie Handy, one of the landlords who owns 184 Church Street.

Handy says for years now, drug activity has been rampant in and out of the property.

“Definitely a drug issue, I am not going to lie to you,” he said. “We have been trying to work with anyone that wants to help us, but we are not getting any help from anybody.”

It’s an issue WCAX News investigated in 2018 after police told us it was the number one address in the city that officers get called to.

“Not all properties are created equal. There are properties that we receive more criminal complaints than others,” then-chief Brandon del Pozo told us in 2018.

Police did not respond to a request for comment when asked about the property now, but neighbors say a police presence is felt.

“Cops ride around the block all the time. Oh yeah, they ride around the block. Like yesterday morning I seen a cop ride around, drive around,” said Sonny Langloys of Burlington.

Beyond the suspected drug activity, on Saturday there were reports of shots fired-- twice. One man was arrested and there were no reports of any injuries.

Handy says they hired security at the house, called the police multiple times and kicked people out, but nothing seems to be working.

“We are not the police and we are doing the best we can,” Handy said. “We have security guys that try to go down there and get rid of the bad people, leave the tenant there, and that’s not working out.”

Inside the building, there are doors ripped off their hinges and holes in the walls, some of which appear to be from a shooting.

Despite the problem being ongoing for years, Handy says they are running out of options.

“We’re trying to move people out,” he said.

We know back in 2016, 26 tenants lived in the building. Now, I’m told there’s only a handful left.

Again, we reached out to Burlington police on this story but we didn’t hear back before this story was published.

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