Neighbors shocked to hear about deadly officer involved shooting

Published: Sep. 2, 2017 at 5:18 PM EDT
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New details involving a fatal officer involved shooting in Poultney.

State police named the five troopers that fired at Michael Battles killing him Friday morning.

Neighbors are shocked that this happened on what they call, a quiet dirt road, but neighbors that knew Battles say he was trouble.

Saturday morning, Vermont State Police remained on the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting in Poultney that took place early Friday morning.

"It was shocking," said Eileen Laverty, from Poultney.

Laverty and her daughter were biking down Finel Hollow Road Thursday afternoon when police stopped them.

"I said, ‘What's wrong officer? He said, 'Do you live here? I said, 'Yeah we just moved in.' He said, 'You're going to want to turn around,’” said Laverty.

Troopers responded to the home of 32-year-old Michael Battles for an alleged domestic assault that happened earlier in the day, Thursday. Police say Battles refused to exit his house and claimed to have a gun.

Neighbors say the road was closed and lined with about 20 police cruisers.

A tactical team and crisis negotiators were called in - police say they attempted to get Battles outside of the house for several hours - but were unsuccessful. At one point, police say Battles, was heard saying, "I guess you'll have to shoot me."

It wasn't until about 2:00 a.m. Friday when state police say they saw Battles in the second story window holding what they believed to be a gun and pointing it at them. They immediately responded by firing multiple rounds at the 32-year-old, hitting and killing him.

“Here we are on 137 acres and up the street, there is that kind of violence," said Laverty.

In a press release Saturday, investigators say Battles died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Police say he had two weapons on him which were later determined to be BB guns.

A total of five troopers fired their weapons.

They've been identified as: Sgt. Lyle Decker, Tpr. Matthew Cannon, Tpr. Eric Vitali, Tpr. Christopher Brown, and Tpr. Michael Anderson.

However, police did not say who fired the fatal shot. All five men are on paid leave while the incident is being investigated. In December of 2015, Trooper Matthew Cannon and a special agent with the DEA were involved in a separate fatal shooting that claimed the life of an alleged drug dealer in Burlington.

According to police, Battles had an extensive criminal history including felony convictions.

A neighbor, who declined to be interviewed on camera, says police had been to Battles' home in the past.

"I don't think that this is indicative of this area,” said Laverty.

Multiple requests to state police Friday night and Saturday for interviews were declined.