Attorney General: No charges against troopers in fatal Tunbridge shooting

  • Matthew Tarricone (Vermont State Police photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/10/2019 11:19:12 AM

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Attorney General’s Office says it won’t prosecute the Vermont State Police troopers who fatally shot Jeremy Potwin following an armed standoff outside a mobile home on Gage Road in Tunbridge in May.

Sgt. Matthew Tarricone and Trooper Neil Carey acted reasonably when they fired shots at Potwin after he emerged from 920 Gage Road with his pregnant girlfriend, Calen Vaine, in front of him and with a semi-automatic handgun pointed at her head as he advanced toward police, Attorney General TJ Donovan said in a news release on Tuesday morning.

Potwin “held a large-caliber revolver which was pointed directly at members of the Tactical Services Unit” in his other hand, and he ignored “repeated demands” to drop his weapons, the release said. Potwin also had fired several shots out of the house toward police in the hours preceding the fatal shooting.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, it was reasonable for Troopers Carey and Tarricone to think that they, Ms. Vaine, and other members of law enforcement were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed by Mr. Potwin,” Donovan wrote. “Accordingly, Troopers Carey and Tarricone’s decision to use deadly force to stop the threat was reasonable and justified.”

Carey fired a single shot at the 39-year-old Potwin but didn’t hit him. Tarricone then fired a single round and hit Potwin in the right shoulder-blade area, prompting Potwin to fall to the ground, authorities said.

He was transported to Gifford Medical Center, in Randolph, where he was pronounced dead. Vaine wasn’t hurt, according to the release.

Troopers had arrived on the property that day to serve Potwin an arrest warrant for an alleged violation of probation. He also was wanted for questioning in other criminal cases, including three nearby fires in Tunbridge.

The Orange County State’s Attorney’s Office also reviewed the case and declined to prosecute the troopers, the release states.

Police had characterized Vaine, who was eight months pregnant, as a hostage following the shooting, but in an interview with the Valley News, she called herself a willing shield.

The pair had been dating and spent more than eight hours in her bedroom inside the home, where she lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend before the shooting unfolded around 8 p.m. on May 11.

Vaine is currently incarcerated after being arrested on Friday on an outstanding warrant.

On Sunday, a fire destroyed the mobile home on the property where the shooting took place.

The 2.6-acre property was owned by Gardner Moses and was assessed at $30,400. Chuck Moses, a relative of Gardner, lived at the home.

Tunbridge Volunteer Fire Department Chief Simon Bradford conducted a preliminary investigation into the fire and determined that “initial indications” were that it started in a chimney and is not considered suspicious, according to Vermont State Police spokesman Adam Silverman.

Bradford turned the property back over to the owner; he then asked Vermont State Police fire investigators to confirm his findings, Silverman said. However, investigators weren’t able to obtain consent to access the property, Silverman said.

Potwin lived nearby at 896 Gage Road.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at or 603-727-3248.

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