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Update: Salisbury man dies in shooting incident with VSP

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Posted on November 17, 2011 |
By John Flowers



Updated 11/17/11 4:15 p.m.

SALISBURY — Vermont State Police reported that a Salisbury man apparently shot and killed himself early this morning after troopers were called to his home for a domestic dispute, and the man pointed a gun at them.

VSP this afternoon said that Gerald “Dusty” Woodburn, 52, died in the incident, but no one else was injured.

According to state police, at 12:08 a.m. on Thursday the VSP dispatch center received a 911 call from a woman who resides on Lake Dunmore Road in Salisbury. The caller, whom police did not identify, said that Woodburn, her live-in boyfriend, had taken her cell phone, had a firearm, and had left the residence.

Troopers from the New Haven barracks were notified responded to the caller’s residence. While the troopers were en route, Woodburn returned home and entered the residence, where the woman was home with her two brothers, according to a VSP press release.

Upon their arrival, the troopers met the two brothers outside of the residence; they told police the woman and Woodburn were inside having a domestic argument.

The VSP press release recounts the actions as follows:

The troopers met the woman at the front door and were allowed inside the residence. Once inside the troopers attempted to separate the woman and Woodburn in order to obtain statements from them as to the nature of the domestic disturbance. When the troopers attempted to interview the woman and Woodburn, the woman conveyed to the troopers that Woodburn had a gun.

Woodburn then raised the gun pointing it at the troopers. At this time one of the troopers fired a single round at Woodburn. The troopers lost sight of Woodburn as he retreated further into the residence. As the troopers moved to a position of cover and called for further assistance they heard another shot from inside the residence.

Troopers from the Rutland barracks, as well as officers from the Middlebury and Brandon police departments, responded to assist. The VSP Tactical Services Unit and Hostage Negotiation Unit were also activated and responded to the residence. Everyone was evacuated from the building, including the woman, and a perimeter was established around the residence.

Attempts to contact Woodburn inside the residence were unsuccessful, the Tactical Services Unit entered the residence and discovered Woodburn deceased inside from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one else was injured during the course of this incident.

In talking about the safety concerns surrounding this incident, VSP Director Col. Thomas L’Esperance said “we take every precaution to protect everyone involved in these volatile situations, our primary goal is public safety.”

In accordance with Vermont State Police protocol state police detectives from outside of the troop area were called in to investigate the incident. The Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team was called and is processing the scene. Woodburn was removed from the scene and transported to the Office of the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The investigation is happening in cooperation with the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office, as well as the Attorney General’s Office.

 

VSP said the troopers involved in the shooting will not be named, at this time, for officer safety reasons. The troopers were immediately placed on administrative leave, with pay, per policy.

Once the investigation is completed the case will be reviewed by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, as is customary in an officer-related shooting.

“We will await the completion of the investigation and the review from attorney general’s before drawing any conclusions about today’s events,” said Col. L’Esperance. “The vital decision to use deadly force is something that will stay with these troopers, throughout their careers. And we will provide support to our members, as needed.”

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