Camp located on land owned by non-profit
By Guy Page
A Montpelier homeless encampment on property owned by Vermont Foodworks, a non-profit, was the home of three armed people who were detained by police in connection with the Thursday afternoon, October 26 shooting at a U-32 high school bus, Montpelier police say.
The shooting occurred at 3:24 pm as the bus was idling at the railroad crossing near the Agway store. The bus was carrying students at the time. No-one was injured. Friday, October 27, Montpelier police provided the following information in an update:
• There was a significant delay in the Montpelier Police Department being notified of this incident.
• The First Student bus removed the students, changed buses and returned to their headquarters prior to law enforcement arrival.
• Once on scene, officers identified what appears to be a single gun shot through the driver’s side window which then made contact with the windshield. No injuries were reported.
• A Homeless Encampment is located on the property of 5 Home Farm Way. 5 Home Farm Way is a privately owned piece of land. The Montpelier Assessor shows the owner of the property as Food Works, A Vermont Nonprofit Corp. The owner of the property has not requested the removal of the encampment since it has been established, police say.
[Editor’s note: A non-profit located at 64 Main Street in Montpelier called Food Works at Two Rivers Center was dissolved in 2015, according to the Vermont Secretary of State website. It is unclear whether the homeless people were there with any landowner’s knowledge.]
• Three individuals residing at the encampment were detained and interviewed. No arrests have been made as a result of these interviews, police say.
• The three individuals had several weapons on their person or near their person when they were approached by police.
• The Montpelier Police Department took possession of seven (7) firearms during the initial approach with the three individuals.
• The Montpelier Police Department requested and received a search warrant for a camper on the encampment site. The Montpelier Police Department seized an additional firearm due to the search warrant.
• A total of eight firearms were seized during the preliminary investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is working with the Montpelier Police Department on this investigation.
• The Montpelier Police Department is working closely with U32 staff, the Vermont State Police, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Berlin Police Department to further the investigation.
• Montpelier Police Department officers were posted at the railroad crossing at school closing time Friday afternoon.
• The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information is urged to contact MPD at 802-223-3445.