Hartford man shot in face over the weekend was previously shot, wounded by police

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-26-2022 7:08 AM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – A 22-year old Quechee man who was shot in the face at the Super 8 Motel in White River Junction on Friday is the same man who was shot by a state trooper during a pursuit after the man fired a shotgun in the direction of his roommates in 2019, according to Hartford police.

“It’s the same guy,” confirmed Hartford Police Chief Bob Cormier, who declined further comment because the investigation into the Friday night incident is continuing.

James Luce was last reported in stable condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where he was taken Friday evening from the motel where first responders found him on the floor with a bullet wound to his face.

Police said the alleged shooter and others in the motel room are cooperating with the investigation and all appeared to know each other.

In 2019, Luce, of Quechee, was charged with three counts of aggravated domestic assault with a weapon after police received a report that he fired a shotgun at a house on Quechee-West Hartford Road following what police described as a domestic dispute with two female roommates.

Luce was later located by police and ordered to drop his shotgun. He initially complied but when he moved to pick it up again a Vermont state trooper fired his shotgun, grazing Luce and causing minor abrasions.

At his arraignment in 2019, the judge denied Luce’s public’s defender motion to release him on bail and into the care of his grandmother. He was incarcerated for 26 days at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, according to state prison records.

The Vermont Attorney General’s office investigated the “officer-involved shooting” and determined the trooper’s actions were legally justified under the conditions and the officer was not prosecuted.

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Five months after he was charged, Luce pleaded guilty to one felony count of aggravated domestic assault and a single misdemeanor count of simple assault and was sentenced to a 30- to 60-day suspended sentence with two years probation.

His probation ended Aug. 27, 2021, according to Vermont state prison records.

Under the plea deal, Luce’s name was listed on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for at least two years which would flag his name if he attempted to legally purchase a firearm.

A spokesperson for Dartmouth-Hitchcock said Luce is not a name that is on the list of patients for whom the hospital is authorized to release information to the public.

Hartford police said on Saturday that Luce was in stable condition.

Kimber Luce, of Quechee, James Luce’s grandmother, declined to comment about her grandson’s condition when reached by the Valley News on Monday.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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