Former inmate shot dead in Springfield

By Guy Page

A Springfeld man with a Vermont prison record was found dead, shot in the head, off Greeley Road in Springfield.

The death of Justin Gilliam, 38, is the latest in a series of shootings in Springfield, a once-prosperous mill town now experiencing heavy drug crime activity and a shortage of police officers. Located on the fast-moving, hydro-power friendly Connecticut River, Springfield’s production of machine tools was of such importance to the American war effort during World War II that the US government ranked Springfield and nearby Windsor as the seventh most important bombing target in the country, according to Wikipedia.

But most of the factories closed more than a generation ago, and in recent years it has been targeted by a new enemy – organized drug crime. Located on the I-91 drug highway, it’s connected to fentanyl and heroin distribution hubs in southern New England. Illegal gunfire (notably on Valley Street) have been common this year. 

Meanwhile, the Springfield Police Department (like many Vermont police agencies) is struggling with turnover. The chief of police is scheduled to retire this December. The Springfield Police Department is offering $10,000 signing bonuses for patrol officers and sergeants. 

An autopsy was performed Tuesday, June 7 at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Gilliam. It determined the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death is a homicide. The investigation began when Springfield police received a call at 12:18 p.m. Monday from a resident who lives in the area of Greeley Road reporting that what appeared to be the body of a deceased adult man was found alongside the road, in the area of 99 Greeley Road.

On Nov. 27, 2017, Gilliam allegedly violated his furlough conditions by traveling to the state of New Hampshire, Springfield police say. Gilliam was cited to appear in Windsor County Criminal Court on the charge and remanded to SSCF by Department of Corrections field supervisors.

State police have released no information about the motive for the shooting. The investigation remains active and ongoing. Police encourage anyone with information about this incident to call the Vermont State Police in Westminster at 802-722-4600, or submit a tip anonymously online.

Categories: Crime

8 replies »

  1. Guy, in the admirable fashion of a truly objective journalist, you stop short of directly implying that a demoralized and understaffed police department and a proliferation of illegal drug trafficking is somehow related or even causative to gun violence in the Precision Valley. That allows the readers to draw our own conclusions and it would seem that causation is indeed obvious. Most other media outlets would instead point their long, bony fingers of indignation at the NRA or “MAGA-type” gun owners.

  2. Criminal activitity is esculating in Vermont. Police forces are under staffed. Correction facilities are under staffed as well. Is this a new development? What could be causing it? What parties are in power over these high crime areas and responsible for the safety in our communities? Our government is hellbent on taking away our personal protection as granted by the 2nd Amendment. Yet, crime runs rampant and illegal drugs are pouring into the State. Taking our last line of defense to protect our families and our property won’t happen no matter what “they” say or do.

  3. We also have a population of locals that have gotten involved with the drug operations located in Springfield MA, Hartford CT, NYC, NJ etc. Our locals don’t seem to understand that those boys won’t hesitate to kill them should they decide to because they think they’re being cheated, dissed or just because. Our VT drug sellers mostly don’t have a clue what they’re messing with and thus are found dead via homicide. Sad but won’t stop til the drug dealing does.

  4. The violent crime in Vermont is tied to illegal drugs and organized gangs. Illegal drugs are pouring over our southern border because the Biden administration has ceased enforcement of border laws, surrendering control of the border to the drug cartels. What have our three elected officials representing Vermont in Washington, D.C. done in calling for the Biden administration to engage illegal drug interdiction on the southern border?

  5. How about blaming Vermont’s catch and release court system? Police do their jobs and the courts don’t do theirs

  6. Catch and release big issue. Changing the age of a “juvenile” big issue. Believing that Vermont law enforcement is racist another issue. Thank the ACLU and progressives.

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