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Shooting Locks Down Springfield: 1 Person Shot; 2 Others Injured

  • Bryce Butler, of Springfield, Vt., stands outside the apartment building where occupents of the building were shot on June 11, 2014. Butler said he has a two month old child and is worried about raising his son in Springfield. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Bryce Butler, of Springfield, Vt., stands outside the apartment building where occupents of the building were shot on June 11, 2014. Butler said he has a two month old child and is worried about raising his son in Springfield.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Purchase photo reprints »

  • A young women in handcuffs is questioned by police behind a pizza restaurant in Springfirld, Vt., on June 11, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    A young women in handcuffs is questioned by police behind a pizza restaurant in Springfirld, Vt., on June 11, 2014.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Springfield Selectboard chairman Kristi Morris, right speaks to a woman who said she is the owner of an apartment building where several people were shot on June 11, 2014, in Springfield, Vt. She would not give her name. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

    Springfield Selectboard chairman Kristi Morris, right speaks to a woman who said she is the owner of an apartment building where several people were shot on June 11, 2014, in Springfield, Vt. She would not give her name.
    Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »

  • Bryce Butler, of Springfield, Vt., stands outside the apartment building where occupents of the building were shot on June 11, 2014. Butler said he has a two month old child and is worried about raising his son in Springfield. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • A young women in handcuffs is questioned by police behind a pizza restaurant in Springfirld, Vt., on June 11, 2014. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
  • Springfield Selectboard chairman Kristi Morris, right speaks to a woman who said she is the owner of an apartment building where several people were shot on June 11, 2014, in Springfield, Vt. She would not give her name. <br/>Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

UPDATE: Read the Thursday morning update at this link.

Springfield, Vt. — Two people were in custody and a third “person of interest” was being questioned following a shooting incident on Summer Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Of the three injured people, one suffered a gunshot wound and the two others had “non-life-threatening injuries, which were not gunshot wounds,” according a state police news release. Two of the victims were transported to Springfield Hospital and one was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, according to the release. Further information about the condition of the victims was not available at press time.

Their names had not been released, though Springfield Police Chief Doug Johnston said that the victims, two men and one woman, were all adults.

Springfield police requested assistance from state troopers for the shooting around 3:35 p.m., the release said. Initial investigations indicated that the subjects knew each other.

Johnston said his department had initially responded to a report of someone being chased up the street by a man with a baseball bat before the shooting occurred on the second floor of the multi-apartment building at 47 Summer Street.

The shooting resulted in a manhunt and caused lockdowns throughout the town. Springfield Hospital, Springfield High School, the recreation center and Bank Block, which is a section of Main Street that includes the Vermont Department of Labor office, the Chamber of Commerce and the 56 Main Street Restaurant, were all locked down for a number of hours, said Selectboard Vice Chairwoman Stephanie Thompson.

Chris Moore, who lives near the site of the shooting, went to the Springfield police station to ask if it was safe for his family to stay nearby. An officer told him the police were still searching for two suspects, but not in his town, so he could go home for the night, Moore said.

At about 4:30 p.m., Springfield and state police surrounded the back of Springfield Village Pizza, which is located at the end of Summer Street where it intersects with Main Street, and began questioning a woman. Police eventually handcuffed her and took her through the back of the brick Village Pizza building. When they exited the building, she was escorted into the passenger side of an unmarked state police cruiser.

A dark blue car with a silver hood parked directly behind the Village Pizza was later towed away.

Robin Iliopoulos, the owner of Village Pizza, said the woman worked at her restaurant and was running late for work on Wednesday. Iliopoulos would not disclose her identity beyond saying her first name was Amy.

“She’s been a wonderful employee, a wonderful person,” Iliopoulos said. “It was very difficult to watch.”

The shooting occurred in downtown Springfield in a three-story red-paneled house where Summer Street meets Wall Street and Pleasant Street, which is right off Springfield’s Main Street. The four-way intersection was blocked off with police tape, and two officers remained on the front porch throughout the evening.

At around 5:30 p.m., the owners of the Summer Street property arrived. The man and woman, who would not provide their names, approached the Selectboard chairman who was on scene and asked him about the status of the situation.

Online Springfield assessing records indicate that the building is owned by Gray Properties Inc.

“We go out of our way to make sure we have the right people living here,” the woman said to a reporter before entering her car.

At dusk, the scene was calm with just a lone police cruiser with its lights flashing in front of the house. Two police officers sat on the front porch with the door opened.

At 7 p.m., Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill arrived at the scene and went inside the apartment building for about 20 minutes before exiting. He declined to comment. Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen could not be reached for comment.

Selectboard Chairman Kristi Morris — also a firefighter and EMT — went to the scene when he heard about the gunshots. Morris drove the ambulance that transported one of the male victims to the hospital.

Morris couldn’t provide many details, but he said around 5 p.m. that everybody was alive and that some of the injuries were from gunshots.

When asked about public safety, he said he was concerned.

“At this point, responsibly, I would say that there probably should be some concern for public safety,” Morris said. “I want to quantify that. I don’t think the public in general is in danger. I think this is just a continuation of some of the activities we have seen.”

The state police news release, issued several hours later, stated categorically that there was no threat to public safety as a result of the incident.

Morris acknowledged that drug-related crime is a big issue in town, although he declined to suggest that the shooting was related to drugs.

“I have to say that if you were to categorize this, it is more like similar events that have happened in the past that seem to be escalating a little bit. We’re concerned about the activity,” Morris said, clarifying that by “activity” he was referring to the drug presence in town.

Bryce Butler, 16, who lives on nearby Wall Street, said he heard a couple gunshots while he was sitting on his front porch. He immediately ran inside and listened to a scanner, which he keeps inside his house. When he heard chatter indicating that the shooting took place on Summer Street, he headed to the scene. While standing on the sidewalk, he said he saw paramedics bring out three people.

Butler said he knew the woman who was injured.

Butler said he has a two-month-old son, and said he constantly worries about his safety and would like to move away from Springfield.

“There are too many things like this that occur here,” Butler said.

While Butler didn’t know if drugs were involved, he said heroin use and the crimes that are associated with drug use affect Springfield residents regularly.

In July 2012, a shooting occurred just up the street from the scene of Wednesday’s incident. Terrick Craft, of Springfield, was arrested for firing several shots at a man in his 30s, Nicholas Brown. Brown was not hit, and Craft suffered a broken jaw. Craft pleaded no contest to felony charges of aggravated assault and obstructing justice and a misdemeanor charge of providing false information to a police officer. He was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison.

After the 2012 shooting, Thompson said, there was increased police presence throughout the town and a number of citizen-organized community forums about drugs, gangs and neighborhood watches. She said she expects a similar trend to occur after this shooting.

“We’re concerned. We’re very concerned, and we want the city to know we care. We want to prevent these things from happening again,” Thompson said.

Numerous bystanders at the scene assumed the shooting was drug-related, but officials said little Wednesday evening beyond the fact that a confrontation occurred before the shooting near and within the Summer Street apartment house. Thompson acknowledged that she didn’t know if the shooting was drug-related, but she said heroin use and drug arrests are common in Springfield, and she said she understands why people would jump to that conclusion.

She said she expected that she and Morris, the Selectboard chairman, would be discussing “ how we move our community forward.”

“We want people to not give up on the town,” Thompson said. “It might seem really bad right now, but we will get through this.”

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223. Staff writers Rob Wolfe and Maggie Cassidy contributed to this report.

Related

Police Make Two Arrests in Springfield Shooting; One Victim Still Receiving Medical Treatment

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Springfield, Vt. — Police have arrested two people in connection with the Summer Street shooting incident that injured three people and sparked a manhunt Wednesday afternoon, according to a state police news release. Leon Jiggetts, 26, of Newark, N.J., was charged with attempted second degree murder and burglary and lodged at Southeast State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., for lack …