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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.

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