Six gun incidents in four different communities
By Guy Page
Police are investigating six separate dangerous, unlawful gunfire and gun threatening incidents across Vermont that took place between Friday and Sunday.
All of the incidents occurred in residential areas. No-one was killed and one person is known to be injured. At least one of the shootings was drug-related and involved out-of-state residents shooting what police called “assault-style rifles.”
Three gun incidents took place in Burlington. Unlawful gunfire “is not a trend we want to see continuing from 2020 and 2021, but it looks like it is,” Police Chief Jon Murad told WVMT Morning Drive radio show host Kurt Wright this morning.
The other three shootings took place in Grand Isle, Springfield, and White River Junction.
Incident #1: 6 pm Friday, April 22, on Adams School Road in Grand Isle.
State police say the shooting involved a drug-related dispute between two groups of people who were known to each other. Police learned that one group of individuals was traveling on Adams School Road in a Volkswagen sedan with New York plates when they encountered the second group of individuals driving in the opposite direction in a vehicle described as a silver or gray Range Rover with Pennsylvania license plates.
A man inside the Volkswagen then opened fire on the Range Rover. Police have collected evidence that shows multiple rounds were fired from an assault-style rifle. The incident occurred in a residential area, and bystanders were present, but no injuries have been reported to passers-by, and VSP is unaware of any injuries to the occupants of the Range Rover.
The Volkswagen was subsequently abandoned by its occupants, and police have seized the vehicle. A state trooper later encountered the Range Rover and initiated a short pursuit before the Range Rover was able to escape, last seen headed toward the greater Burlington area.
Investigators are continuing to look for the individuals (see photo above) who left the scene on foot. Police ask that anyone who has information that could assist investigators; who may have witnessed the shooting; or who sees the Range Rover call the Vermont State Police in St. Albans at 802-524-5993, or submit an anonymous tip online at http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
Incident #2: 7:30 pm Friday, man shot in face in White River Junction motel.
A 22-year-old man was shot in the face Friday evening at the Super 8 Motel on North Hartland Road in White River Junction on Friday evening, according to a Hartford PD news release cited in media reports.
Officers responded to a 911 call at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Responding to a 911 call at 7:30 pm, police found James Luce, 22, of Quechee on the floor of a guest room, according to a police news release.
Luce is reportedly in stable condition. The suspected shooter and witnesses are reportedly cooperating with investigators. Two years prior, police had arrested Luce for a domestic disturbance in which he fired a shotgun.
Incident #3: 3 AM Saturday, Valley Street in Springfield – the second shooting there this month.
At 3 pm on Saturday, April 23, state police were notified of a disturbance on Valley Street in th Windsor County town of Springfield involving multiple reports of gun shots. A dark colored vehicle with no lights on was seen leaving the area traveling north on Valley Street toward Brook Road.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting disturbance are under active investigation. No one is currently in custody and State Police have not been made aware of any injuries. Anyone with information should call 802-722-4600, or submit a tip online at http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
Tuesday April 5 someone shot at a home on Valley Street. No-one was injured. Police detained a person of interest, but by Wednesday no-one was in custody.
Incident #4: 11:38 pm Saturday, threatening with gun at downtown Burlington bar.
Dispatchers at the Burlington Police Department received multiple 911 calls about a black male patron with dreadlocks who produced a firearm and pointed it at employees at Reuben James Bar and Grill on Main Street.
Police officers responded and identified the suspect on the street. There was a brief foot pursuit, after which officers apprehended the suspect at gunpoint and by use of physical force. He was identified as Jahi Bennett-Gooden, 25.
During the short foot pursuit, the suspect allegedly discarded a holster. When apprehended he was in possession of a fanny pack; officers are working to obtain a search warrant because they have probable cause to believe it contains a firearm.
During the apprehension an officer was seriously injured, suffering what is preliminarily believed to be a torn ACL. That officer is expected to be assigned to limited duty for some time, further affecting the BPD’s patrol staffing.
The suspect was not injured. Bennett-Gooden has been lodged with pre-trial conditions, and is expected to be arraigned on Monday.
Bennett-Gooden was the subject of a previous press release on April 22, 2020, when he allegedly robbed the Champlain Farms at S. Winooski Ave and Main Street and discharged rounds inside the store. An officer witnessed him discharge additional rounds at the building and its occupants as he fled; she was able to apprehend him in front of the Roxy Cinema.
Since then he has had 13 additional police involvements prior to last night’s incident with a variety of Chittenden County law enforcement agencies. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Police Department at (802) 658-2704.
Bennett-Gooden is a previous resident of Philadelphia and Saranac Lake, NY. His social media cites him as a father and a former Community College of Vermont student. Today, he is scheduled to appear in civil court for a child support hearing.
Incident #5 – Sunday at 5 am, gunshots, yelling, and fast cars on Pine and Maple streets in Burlington. During the investigation, police discovered a U-Haul truck there that had been stolen in Winooski.
Incident #6: Sunday at 8 am, gunshots heard on Pine and King streets. No further information available.