Police: Bank robbery suspect was carrying BB gun
We have new details about the fatal police shooting of a suspected armed robber in Montpelier Tuesday. The update came late Wednesday afternoon from Vermont State Police. It turns out the suspect did have a weapon in his hand, it just wasn't a firearm.
By now, most people have seen the video of Nathan Giffin, 32, of Essex, slowly advancing on police with what appears to be a black and silver handgun. After the fatal shots were fired, investigators went to work collecting evidence and processing the scene. Of particular interest-- that gun in Giffin's hand. During the confrontation, it was clearly visible. But when authorities took a closer look at the weapon, they discovered it was a BB gun. They released an evidence photo of the actual weapon recovered from the scene. It is a Umarex 40XP BB pistol.
Police also released the names of the nine officers who gunned Giffin down on Montpelier High's athletic field. The eight troopers and one Montpelier police officer are identified as:
Sgt. Cory Lozier-Vt. State Police-Hired July 11, 2005 (no photo available)
Sgt. Lyle Decker-Vt. State Police-Hired July 12, 2004
Sgt. Eugene Duplissis-Vt. State Police-Hired July 23, 2001
Sgt. Charles Winn-Vt. State Police-Hired July 21, 2008
Sgt. David White-Vt. State Police-Hired Jan. 27, 2003
Tpr. Christopher Brown-Vt. State Police-Hired Jan. 16, 2012
Tpr. Brandon Degre-Vt. State Police-Hired Jan. 16, 2012
Tpr. Isaac Merriam-Vt. State Police-Hired July 11, 2016
Cpl. Michael Philbrick-Montpelier Police-Hired 2011
The cops' use of deadly force will now be reviewed by the Washington County state's attorney and Vermont attorney general.
We are told Giffin's autopsy results are still pending.
WHO WAS NATHAN GIFFIN?
We're also learning more about who Nathan Giffin was. Our Tyler Dumont spoke with multiple people who knew Giffin. Among them, a police sergeant who interviewed Giffin less than a month ago. He says Giffin told him about some personal struggles and wanting to improve his life.
"I was in shock," Krystal Walters said.
Walters is a former classmate of bank robbery suspect Nathan Giffin. Giffin was shot and killed by police Tuesday. Walters and Giffin grew up together in Montpelier. She is sad to hear of his sudden death.
"He was a great kid all the way through school. He was very friendly, very upbeat, very funny-- funny to be around," Walters said.
Giffin was also shot on the grounds of his alma mater.
After graduating together in 2003, Walters says she kept in touch with her late peer despite his run-ins with the law.
"He just, unfortunately, took the wrong road somewhere," she said.
A wrong road that landed him in trouble in Williston less than a month ago.
"We first became involved with him right on Christmas Day," Williston Police Sgt. Bart Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain interviewed Giffin when he was a suspect in burglaries at a Walmart and Toys R Us. His affidavit from the case shows Giffin revealed a cocaine and heroin addiction, something he reportedly wanted to change, telling police he tried to get into rehab but the wait list was too long.
"He expressed some unhappiness that he was 32 years old and still leading a life of crime, and still using drugs, and just wasn't happy with where his life was going," Chamberlain said.
His life was most recently lived at a home in Essex. Activity there worried people who lived nearby.
"There's a lot of traffic in and out of that place, and it's been for a long time," neighbor Gene Dunbar said.
Dunbar says he recently did some plumbing repairs for Giffin but otherwise rarely saw him.
"He was kind and pleasant to me, and polite," Dunbar said.
Giffin was supposed to appear in court Thursday for those Williston charges but the sergeant tells us the hearing was delayed because Giffin told him he ended up getting into rehab. So far, we have been unable to confirm whether or not he received treatment.