Man fires AR-15, blames gunshot on unidentified black man, police say

The Vermont State Police has cited a Waterbury man into court on charges related to his firing a rifle off the porch of his home Friday morning and subsequently providing false information to police about the incident.

At about 7:26 a.m. Friday, troopers from the Berlin Barracks were dispatched to a report of an individual shooting an AR-15 rifle outside a residence located at 1589 U.S. Route 2 in Waterbury. Upon arrival, troopers contacted the residence’s owner, Joseph Bishop, 46. During the investigation, Bishop made several conflicting statements to investigating troopers about an unknown black man from out of state inside the residence. Bishop claimed he had been in an altercation with this individual, and that the unidentified man had produced a concealed AR-15 and fired a round.

Further investigation revealed Bishop made false statements to investigating troopers, with Bishop eventually admitted he pulled out an AR-15 and firing at least one round into the air while outside his residence.

This incident resulted in multiple calls to the Vermont State Police from several schools and daycare centers located in and around Waterbury inquiring about a possible active shooter incident. The state police would like to assure the public that this was an isolated incident, and there was no active shooter situation.

VSP was assisted on the scene by the Berlin Police Department and Waterbury Rescue.

Bishop was cited into court on charges of reckless endangerment and providing false information to law enforcement. He is due to appear at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 8, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Barre.

This investigation remains active and ongoing, and additional charges are possible. Anyone with information that may assist investigators in this matter is asked to call the Berlin Barracks at 802-229-9191 or provide an anonymous tip online by visiting

Categories: Crime, Uncategorized

4 replies »

  1. Waterbury used to have their own police department. So now they must rely on VSP, and other local P.D.s to provide coverage ? How long will it be before someone dies because of response time from other departments that are already under staffed ?

  2. There is nothing particularly wrong or cause for alarm that someone discharges a firearm on their own property, provided there is a safe background and they not be violating local discharge ordinances. Of course it is best to not fire a high-powered military round into the air, nor to lie to police about where you fired it or make up a fictitious story about an intruder to stir up racial animosity. These are sensitive times when any gun incident is blown up out of proportion. Law-abiding gun owners need to be responsible and set the good example.

    • The article didn’t mention the type of round. A typical AR15 is not “high powered” (essentially the same caliber as a 22 rifle) and AR15s are not used by the military.