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2 Charged In Vermont Shooting

  • Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Leon Jiggetts appears in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction on June 12, 2014, following his arrest for attempted second-degree murder and burglary. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
Jabbar Chandler

Jabbar Chandler

White River Junction — A shooting incident in Springfield, Vt., that injured a convicted drug dealer and wounded two other people was triggered by a dispute over heroin, according to court documents.

Authorities said Leon Jiggetts, 26, of Newark, N.J., — accompanied by Jabbar Chandler, 33, of Charlestown, N.H., and a 16-year-old male — entered a Summer Street apartment Wednesday and shot Joseph Atkinson, 19, of Springfield, Vt.

The other two victims, who received non-life threatening injuries and were released from Springfield Hospital, are 30-year-old Timothy Carleton and his wife, 24-year-old Amanda Booker, both of Springfield. Carleton and Booker live in the apartment in which the shooting occurred.

Both Jiggetts and Chandler have a lengthy criminal record with numerous felony convictions in New Jersey. Atkinson, the shooting victim, pleaded guilty in April to selling cocaine.

Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen declined to say Thursday if Atkinson would be charged in connection with Wednesday’s events, but commented “If you read the affidavit of probable cause, there is some suggestion that maybe he was not just watching TV.”

Kainen added that the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be forthcoming.

Jiggetts was arrested Wednesday night in Bellows Falls and arraigned in Windsor Superior Court on Thursday. He invoked his right to wait 24 hours to enter a plea. Jiggetts will appear in court Friday to enter a plea and to make a bail argument, his defense attorney said during the hearing.

Alleged Confrontation

According to a police affidavit, the 16-year-old boy told police that he, Chandler and Jiggetts went to the Summer Street apartment in search of Atkinson, who was said to be upset with the juvenile because Atkinson believed the youth had stolen his heroin. The juvenile told police that he wanted to confront Atkinson over “spreading rumors about him stealing money from drug deals.”

Police allege the 16-year-old was carrying a baseball bat and Jiggetts was carrying a gun when the three men entered Atkinson’s apartment.

Jiggetts allegedly shot Atkinson and told the 16-year-old boy to hit Atkinson with the baseball bat, which he did in Atkinson’s upper thigh.

Booker, the female victim, said she heard the sound of a gun shot after the three men broke into the apartment. Shortly afterward, Booker said she noticed her face was bleeding. The police affidavit does not explain how Booker received her injuries.

When Carleton saw that Booker was bleeding, he jumped on Chandler, according to the affidavit. A fight ensued in which Carleton was struck in the back of the head with the gun.

The three men then fled the scene in a Dodge Neon, which was parked on nearby Wall Street, and instructed Amy Scannell, Chandler’s girlfriend, who was waiting in the car to drive them to Bellows Falls.

Scannell told police that Chandler pointed a gun at her head and said, “Don’t tell anybody about this.” As they drove, Scannell said Chandler tossed the gun out the window.

The Dodge Neon was later found parked behind Springfield Village Pizza, which is located at the end of Summer Street a short distance from the shooting scene and where Scannell works. Scannell was handcuffed and led away by police officers behind the Village Pizza on Wednesday afternoon.

Charges Filed

Jiggetts is charged with attempted second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, assault and robbery with injury, unlawful trespass of an occupied residence and committing a crime while carrying a weapon.

Jiggetts also faces five charges of selling and possessing heroin and selling cocaine in Windham County as part of the Vermont Drug Task Force investigation.

Kainen said after the hearing Thursday that the state plans to request that Jiggetts be held without bail.

Chandler turned himself in to police in Charlestown on Wednesday night, and he was lodged in New Hampshire as a fugitive.

Chandler was arraigned in Claremont District Court on Thursday, and waived extradition to Vermont, meaning that police can now arrange for Chandler’s return to Vermont. Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said he expects that Chandler will have a hearing in Vermont within a few days.

Chandler is charged with felony unlawful trespass of an occupied residence, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and a misdemeanor simple assault. Police allege that he punched one of the victims and that he pointed a gun at his girlfriend while she drove the getaway car.

Chandler has had recent encounters with law enforcement and appeared in Windsor Superior Court only nine days prior to the Springfield shooting to plead not guilty to a felony aggravated assault charge in which he is alleged to have struck and kicked another man, dislocating and breaking his jaw. Judge Karen Carroll set his bail at $2,500, which Chandler posted on June 5.

Atkinson, the shooting victim, was shot in the torso and transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Atkinson’s medical condition was not available from DHMC officials.

Atkinson is also known to police and pleaded guilty in April to selling cocaine in Windsor Superior Court.

Atkinson had also been arrested in March 2013 and charged with numerous offenses, including cocaine and heroin possession. But those charges were dismissed in July 2013 when a Windsor Superior Court judge ruled that the officer in the case did not have an adequate reason to stop and search the car that Atkinson was riding inside.

Kainen said Chandler, Jiggetts and Atkinson are all originally from New Jersey and are part of the group that calls themselves the “Jersey Boys.”

Springfield Drug Problems

Springfield, Vt., has become known as a place where heroin and other drug use is high and where heroin-related crime has become rampant. And often times the people selling the drugs are people from out of state or with New Jersey connections, according to Kainen.

“We believe these shootings are drug related,” Kainen said. “We believe most of it has to do with out of state dealers who are coming into our communities in Windsor County. And the drugs have also brought with it a certain level of violence that we haven’t really seen before.”

For example, in July 2012, a shooting occurred up the street from the scene of Wednesday’s incident. The man who was convicted in that shooting, Terrick Craft, is the brother of Chandler, one of the men who has been arrested in Wednesday’s shooting.

“Giving the rarity of shootings in Vermont, it is remarkable that you have these two shootings within line of eyesight in downtown Springfield and both allegedly involving persons from out of state,” Cahill, the deputy county attorney, said.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.