St. Albans officer-involved shooting suspect pleads not guilty

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) The suspect in an officer-involved shooting in St. Albans faced a judge Wednesday afternoon.

Just hours after being released from the hospital, Jack LaPlant appeared to be crying as he was led into court to face felony charges. The 26-year-old St. Albans man was grazed by a police officer's bullet the night before after cops say LaPlant aimed at them and fired a round.

"We have probable cause to believe that he shot at the officers, in that direction," said Vermont State Police Capt. Dan Trudeau.

St. Albans Police first came into contact with LaPlant on Lincoln Avenue Tuesday night when 911 callers in that area reported a man holding an AR-15-style rifle and gunshots. LaPlant allegedly aimed that gun at an arriving officer and later fired, prompting an exchange of gunfire.

"There were some rounds that went into the house," Capt. Trudeau said.

Two city police officers shot back. They've been identified as Corporals Michael Malinowski and Jason Lawton. Both were not hurt.

LaPlant suffered non-life threatening injuries and allegedly apologized to officers at the scene, saying he fired his gun into the air because he "wanted to die."

Video obtained by WCAX shows the same officers who shot him rendering aid.

Crime scene investigators returned to the scene Wednesday, searching for evidence with a metal detector and trying to determine the trajectory of bullets. State police also still had the area secured, including a home where LaPlant used to live. Court documents show he had been ordered to stay away from that home just hours before the shooting, after he allegedly abused his girlfriend and lost parental rights to his three children.

"The defendant has a history of violence on his record. He has two prior assault convictions against family members," said Franklin County Deputy State's Attorney Deborah Celis.

Police say they still aren't sure what his intentions were for going to the home he was supposed to stay from and armed with the rifle.

LaPlant's blood is being analyzed for controlled substances. His defense attorney says LaPlant has also expressed interest in getting mental health help. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was held without bail.