Suspect shot dead after manhunt ends in standoff

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TUNBRIDGE, Vt. (WCAX) A Tunbridge man wanted for a series of crimes is dead after being shot by police during a hostage situation Saturday.

Authorities say Jeremy Potwin, 39, of Bethel, was killed after an eight-hour standoff at a home on Gage Road in Tunbridge.

Vermont State Police Maj. Dan Trudeau said multiple teams, including the Tactical Services Unit and the Crisis Negotiations Unit, surrounded the house around noon.

"The Crisis Negotiation Unit negotiated with Potwin for numerous hours, four to five hours. Trying to get a peaceful outcome and just have him turn himself in and come outside," Trudeau said.

Police said Potwin emerged from the house around 8 p.m., but not peacefully.

"He exited the residence holding a female hostage. He had his arm wrapped around her. In one hand, he had a revolver or a handgun. And in the other hand, he had another handgun which he was pointing at the troopers," Trudeau said.

Trudeau said Potwin started walking toward troopers, prompting two of them to open fire. He was hit and taken to Gifford Medical Center in Randolph where he later died. We’re told the female hostage was not injured.

Potwin was on probation for a felony conviction for leaving the scene of a deadly accident in 2017.

"Other than that, he’s got a pretty heavy criminal record. I think he has 17 misdemeanor convictions and just that one felony conviction," Trudeau said. "He was also wanted in connection with an assault that occurred a few days back, an assault and a kidnapping. He was also wanted for questioning in a recent vehicle pursuit."

According to Trudeau, it was the fourth officer-involved shooting in 2019, which he and state police find troubling.

"It’s concerning to the mental well-being of all the troopers involved, whether they’re a shooter themselves or they’ve been out all night on a scene holding perimeter, it certainly takes its toll," he said.

The case is now being sent to the Vermont attorney general’s office for review. Vermont State Police say the troopers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave for at least five days. After that, they can return to administrative duty.