Guns seized from homeless camp after school bus shooting

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.

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10 replies »

  1. Was there sufficient justification to seize the firearms or is this a violation of the second amendment?

    • Most homeless people are mentally ill substance abusers which would automatically preclude their having access to guns in the first place. I’m 2A friendly but I’d really prefer to keep guns out of the hands of people not in any condition to safely use them.

  2. @Lester, that was my own immediate reaction.
    Curious that no reference made in the article.

  3. Who cares guys! .? The protection of our children comes first, period! Do what you have to do officers! Look what happened in Maine with the nut case and a gun, very bad results! Red Flag law is the best but need to be enforced 👍👏🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸😢😢

  4. So for all of you who are hot and bothered that they took 8 guns away from people in a homeless camp, most if not all of whom wouldn’t be considered qualified to legally purchase one now due to their mental health problems and/or substance use disorders; seriously? I guess as long as it’s just you and yours they’re shooting at I’m fine with their being armed to the teeth! I’m not sure how we can prevent them from taking out the rest of us though so no, take their guns and don’t give them back. Undoubtedly more guns are/were hidden there though. Good to know that our “unhoused” population that can’t afford housing or food has the money to buy guns and ammo though!

  5. Innocent until proven guilty or not anymore? What gave the ATF or the Montpelier PD authority to seize the property (weapons) of the homeless people? Was it proven one of the weapons was indeed used by one of them in the incident? Emotional reactions to support subverting the rule of law is 100% wrong! Them today – you tomorrow! I do not support or condone police state tactics in the United States of America. Mental instability and/or impoverished means you have no rights? If that is the measure to remove our rights to possess a weapon in USA today; our liberty, freedom and country is indeed finished, gone, and flushed for good.

    • Melissa

      As long as it’s you and yours that experience the effects of your impassioned support of those with “mental instability “ keeping their guns it’s fine with me. I wouldn’t dream of stopping them.

      • As long you consider who is the fact-checker and authority deeming who is mentally fit or unfit. From what I see, many sitting in the authority seats have mental deficiencies to the extent I wouldn’t trust them to hold a gun, supervise a child or pet, or manage money. I’d place a giant red flag on the Capitol steps here and in DC. Carry on!