By Guy Page
A Holyoke, MA man was charged as a fugitive from justice after being treated at UVMMC for gunshot wounds suffered on Willard Street in Burlington in the early morning of May 15.
Police say Lakeam Bennett, 29, misrepresented his identity to police officers at the hospital.
He was ultimately identified and discovered to have arrest warrants from both Mass and Rhode Island for firearms violations.
On Jan. 6, 2022, Bennett was charged in Rhode Island criminal court with Felony Assault and/or Battery, Reckless Driving and Other Offenses Against Public Safety, and Resisting Legal or Illegal Arrest.
Burlington police detectives say Bennett was shot while armed and forcing his way into a Willard Street resident’s apartment after engaging in a fight with the resident and others earlier that morning on Church St. He is being held on $10,000 bail as a Fugitive from Justice regarding the arrest warrant from Massachusetts.
In other Burlington gun violence news, a man was shot in the head early Monday morning in City Hall Park in Burlington. Nobody is in custody yet, WCAX reported. This is the 10th gunfire incident of the year. Two people were shooting at each other. The man who was shot will recover, WCAX reports. Neighboring businesses sustained gunfire damage.
Many of the recent shooting incidents have occurred in the early hours of the morning, when only two Burlington police officers are patrolling for Vermont’s largest city, due to “Defund the Police” measures undertaken in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, and also due to a chronic shortage of police in Vermont and nationwide.
Burlington released a public safety plan to address growing concerns of a ‘wild west’ atmosphere, especially downtown, three days ago.