Police Reports

Two more die by gunfire this week

Two more Vermonters died by gunshots this week, with another hospitalized in critical condition, following a month of October that saw eight homicides involving firearms. Both deaths appear to have been self-inflicted, and took place when police were nearby.

Hardwick shooting – State police say a tenant shot his landlord in Hardwick Wednesday night, causing life-threatening injuries, then committed suicide after a standoff with police.

The Vermont State Police is identifying the victim of Wednesday night’s shooting in the Northeast Kingdom town as Robert Marquis, 52, who owns the home at 76 Elm St. where the incident occurred.

Marquis remains hospitalized as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he is listed in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

The suspect in the shooting is Donald Brochu Jr., 55, who was renting a room in Marquis’ home. An autopsy performed Thursday at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington concluded Brochu’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was a suicide.

VSP’s investigation determined that after shooting Marquis, Brochu drove away from the residence in the direction of Walden on Vermont Route 15. Police later received reports at about 6:50 p.m. that Brochu’s vehicle had been found crashed near 4695 Route 15 in Walden. Troopers responded to the area and began searching for Brochu, ultimately locating him about two miles away walking on Cahoon Farm Road near the intersection with Cobb Road. Brochu was armed with a handgun.

Troopers sought cover behind a cruiser and ordered Brochu to drop the firearm, which he refused to do. Members of VSP’s Crisis Negotiation Unit spoke with Brochu by phone for more than 20 minutes in an effort to deescalate the situation and persuade him to surrender peacefully. About 26 minutes after arriving on scene, as Brochu continued to ignore commands to drop the gun, troopers fired several less-than-lethal rounds, including bean bags and a rubber impact projectile. At least one projectile struck Brochu. After taking several additional steps toward troopers, Brochu shot himself in the head with his own gun. Troopers immediately began performing life-saving measures, but Brochu was pronounced dead on scene at 7:30 p.m.

The deployment of less-than-lethal rounds is a use of force under Vermont State Police policy, and, per standard procedure, commanders will review the use of force. That review is underway, and no additional details are available at this time.

Brochu was arrested for criminal threatening in April, 2023, online sources say. 

Non-suspicious death while police on premises – the Vermont State Police is investigating a non-suspicious death that occurred Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, at a home on Faulkner Road in Whitingham, a Windham County town near the Massachusetts state line.

Officers from the Wilmington Police Department were on the property at about 9:30 a.m. as part of an ongoing investigation when officers heard what sounded like a gunshot from inside the residence. 

A Vermont state police press statement does not further specify why Wilmington police were there, or whether the shooting was believed connected with their presence.

Wilmington police requested assistance from the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit to confirm there was no threat to the public or officers. Detectives from VSP’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations subsequently responded to investigate the death.

The body was taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The Vermont State Police investigation is continuing, but the death is not considered criminal or suspicious in nature. The identity of the deceased is not being released at this time pending further investigation.

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