Home burns where man held standoff with police; AG says shooting justified

TUNBRIDGE, Vt. (WCAX) A fatal shooting in Tunbridge involving the Vermont State Police is justified according to Vermont's Attorney General. Meanwhile, the home where the shooting took place burned to the ground over the weekend.

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Tunbridge firefighters were called to Gage Road at about 4:25 p.m. Sunday and found the former home of Jeremy Potwin fully engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire is under investigation but officials say it doesn't appear to be suspicious. The home was where Potwin, 39, was shot and killed during a standoff with Vermont troopers in May.

The fire comes as Attorney General T.J. Donovan Tuesday morning announced that the two troopers involved in the shooting would face no charges.

Donovan says the investigation found that troopers tried to serve an arrest warrant at Potwin's home for an alleged violation of probation. Police were searching for Potwin in connection with several crimes, including arson. Despite repeated requests for Potwin to exit the home, he refused to be taken into custody and fired several shots out of the house toward police.

After a lengthy standoff, authorities say Potwin then exited the house holding his pregnant girlfriend, Calen Vaine, closely in front of him with a handgun pointed at her head. In his other hand, he held anther handgun which he pointed at police. After being ordered to drop the gun, two troopers -- Sgt. Matthew Tarricone and Tpr. Neil Carey -- opened fire. Potwin later died at the hospital. Vaine was not injured.

Donovan says that "based on the totality of the circumstances, it was reasonable for Troopers Carey and Tarricone to think that they, Ms. Vaine, and other members of law enforcement were in
imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed," and he concludes that the use deadly force "was reasonable and justified."

Since 1977, there have been 43 shooting in Vermont involving police. Just under half have been fatal. The Potwin case was that last case still pending. All 43 have been ruled justified.