MORE BLOGS: Bite Club (Food & Drink) | Live Culture (Arts) | Stuck in Vermont (Videos)

Off Message: Vermont News and Politics

Guns

February 07, 2014

To Simulate a Shooting, Vermont State Police Occupy Burlington Town Center

_MG_2688_1It was only a drill. Five Vermont state troopers were moving through Burlington Town Center on Thursday evening, when suddenly, they came under fire. Four journalists had infiltrated the deserted mall and wouldn't stop shooting at them. 

Click. Click. Click. 

Undettered by the paparazzi's cameras, the troopers went on with their demonstration, proceeding from the mall's Bank Street entrance in a diamond formation, making their way down to the J. Crew store with guns drawn, turning around and exiting the way they came.  

Continue reading "To Simulate a Shooting, Vermont State Police Occupy Burlington Town Center" »

January 22, 2014

This Week's Issue: Aging Prisoners, Woodstoves and Public TV Trouble

012214

A new issue of Seven Days hits the newsstands today. Here's what you'll find inside:

Get all these stories and more in print, online or on the app.

Cover photo by Tom McNeill

January 14, 2014

Wife of Man Fatally Shot by Police says Burlington Must Do More for Mentally Ill

DSC_0869Barbara Brunette, the wife of a man fatally shot by police in November, implored the Burlington City Council Monday night to invest resources into taking better care of the mentally ill.

A police officer shot Wayne Brunette on Nov. 6 after receiving a call from his parents who said their son was acting irrationally. Police say that Brunette, a 49-year-old who struggled with schizophrenia, threatened two officers with a shovel before he was shot. 

 The Vermont State Police and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office have both cleared the two officers involved of any criminal wrongdoing.

The city council meeting was part eulogy and part plea for more resources.

“My husband was a very caring, poetic, loving, romantic man. He was a fantastic father,” Brunette, pictured above, told the council.  “Policies have to be changed.”

Continue reading "Wife of Man Fatally Shot by Police says Burlington Must Do More for Mentally Ill" »

November 18, 2013

Burlington Cops Return to Duty Following Shooting

Updated at 2:59 p.m.

Two Burlington police officers who were placed on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of a shovel-wielding man earlier this month are returning to duty tomorrow, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling said, as preliminary investigations have showed they did not violate any rules or laws.

While the Vermont State Police and the Burlington Police Department are still reviewing the shooting death of Wayne Brunette in the New North End on November 6, early indications are that Cpl. Ethan Thibault and Cpl. Brent Navari acted appropriately, Schirling said. 

'They don't see any red flags," the chief said in an interview.

The officers are at a training today and will return to regular duty tomorrow, Schirling said.

Brunette was shot four times, the Vermont State Police announced this afternoon, and died of wounds to his torso.  

Thibault fired all four shots, Vermont State Police said. The rounds recovered from Brunette, 49, who had a history of mental illness, will be sent to the Vermont Forensic Lab for ballistic analysis.

Navari did not fire.

The Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Brunette’s death a homicide — a medical definition, not a legal one. The formal autopsy report will be incorporated into the ongoing Vermont State Police investigation, which will be submitted to Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell and Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan for review.

November 12, 2013

Vermont Gun-Safety Advocates Focus on State's Suicide Rate

Gun sense 001

Vermont's high rate of suicide with firearms was the dominant theme of a well-attended and well-mannered forum held Monday night in Burlington City Hall.

Organized by advocates of gun-safety measures in a state with few firearms regulations, the event took place 50 yards from the site of a fatal shooting almost exactly two years ago. Josh Pfenning, 35, died on November 10, 2011, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while camped in City Hall Park during the Occupy Burlington protests.

The way in which Pfenning died is not unusual in Vermont. With the exception of Pennsylvania, Vermont has the Northeast's highest per-capita rate of gun-related deaths, most of which take the form of suicide, said Eliot Nelson, a pediatrician at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Vermonters are far more likely to kill themselves than one another, noted Sean Ackerman, a Fletcher Allen resident in child psychiatry. The state suicide rate stands at 16 deaths per 100,000 residents and the homicide rate is 1.6 per 100,000, he said, adding that more than half of suicides are carried out with firearms.

Continue reading "Vermont Gun-Safety Advocates Focus on State's Suicide Rate" »

October 30, 2013

This Week's Issue: Hunting Trouble, Prison Sex and an M.I.A. Delegation

Cover103013While you're putting together your Halloween getup tonight — bonus candy for anyone in a homemade F-35 costume — give this week's news and politics stories in Seven Days a read. Here's what you'll find.

Pick up this week's issue in print, online or on the app. Finally, go Sox.

October 23, 2013

This Week's Issue: Front Porch Forum's Banhammer; Bernie for Prez 2016?

102313-cover

This week's issue of Seven Days gets into the Halloween spirit, so grab a growler of Donovan's Red and sit down with these news and politics stories:

Get this week's issue on newsstands — that creepy zombie gas-mask thing is hard to miss — at sevendaysvt.com, or on the iOS app.

October 22, 2013

Burlington City Council Passes Three of Four Gun Control Measures

Photo (2)The Burlington City Council covered a lot of ground in its meeting last night. It passed a second round of amendments to the city’s livable wage ordinance, approved a purchase power agreement related to the possible installation of solar panels off Sunset Cliff Road, and heard from members of the public once again about the basing of F-35s in Vermont.

But the items that generated the most public interest throughout the evening were four resolutions related to gun control, which had been proposed by the council’s charter-change committee and that came to vote by night’s end. The council passed three of the four.

The three successful resolutions will ban firearms in any business with a liquor license; require gun owners to store their weapons in locked containers; and allow police to seize firearms when domestic abuse is suspected. But by a 10-4 vote, the council struck down a measure that would have required individuals concealing firearms to carry a permit.

Continue reading "Burlington City Council Passes Three of Four Gun Control Measures" »

October 09, 2013

Burlington Council Panel Rejects Assault Weapons Ban, Supports Four Gun-Safety Proposals

A Burlington City Council committee voted on Wednesday to remove a ban on assault weapons from a package of gun-safety proposals tentatively scheduled to be presented to the full council later this month.

The committee did agree to send to the council four local gun-related initiatives. They would require a police-issued permit in order to carry a concealed firearm; ban firearms in any establishment with a liquor license; enable police to confiscate any dangerous weapon in incidents involving allegations of domestic abuse; and mandate that firearms be securely stored when not in the immediate possession of a gun owner.

The committee’s rejection of the assault rifle ban potentially negates the council’s initial response to the slaughter last December of 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The killer, Adam Lanza, used a type of weapon that would be covered by the ban that the Burlington council had urged in January be applied in Vermont’s largest city.

Continue reading "Burlington Council Panel Rejects Assault Weapons Ban, Supports Four Gun-Safety Proposals" »

September 18, 2013

This Week's Issue: Untangling Vermont's Health Care Exchange; Union Busting Allegations at SMC

Cover-091813Happy Wednesday, people. Here are the news and politics stories you'll find in the latest edition of Seven Days:

If those links aren't your style, read these stories in print or on the Seven Days app.

Cover illustration by Michael Tonn

Subscribe to the Daily 7

Fill out my online form.
All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684