MONTPELIER – The victim of a fatal officer-involved shooting involving members of the Montpelier Police Department has been identified as Mark Johnson, 62, of Montpelier.
Johnson was shot in the early morning hours Friday on Spring Street in the Capital City.
According to police, Johnson's body was transported to the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Burlington for an autopsy, which determined the cause of death was two shots to the torso, and the manner of death was homicide/shot by police.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
According to police, a resident in an apartment complex near the Main Street roundabout called Montpelier Police Department shortly after 5 a.m. to report that a man with a knife had attempted to enter his residence before leaving the area.
Two responding Montpelier police officers saw a man, later identified as Johnson, running away from the apartment complex and carrying what appeared to be a handgun, police said.
Officers repeatedly ordered Johnson to drop the gun and attempted to de-escalate the situation, offering to get help for Johnson, who was seen climbing on the railing of the bridge, police said.
After several minutes, Johnson raised the pistol in the direction of the officers, one of whom fired his patrol rifle, striking Johnson.
The officers immediately rendered first aid to the suspect before EMS transported him to Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, where he was pronounced dead.
According to a news release, no police officers or other individuals were injured during the incident.
The Vermont State Police responded to investigate the officer-involved shooting. Police secured the weapon, which was determined to be a Daisy Powerline pellet pistol.
The incident was captured on cruiser dashboard-mounted video. Montpelier police officers are not equipped with body cameras.
According to the release, per protocol, the names of the officers are being withheld at this time. They have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Once the state police investigation is complete, it will be turned over for independent reviews by the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Washington County State's Attorney's Office, the release stated.
Traffic into the downtown was disrupted following the incident, with Spring Street, between Elm and Main streets, and Main Street between School and Liberty streets, blocked off to traffic.
White tarpaulins covered a space on the Spring Street bridge, with officers from VSP, Montpelier and Barre police departments on-scene.
The VSP Crime Scene Search Team arrived shortly after 9 a.m. to begin an investigation.
Montpelier Police Chief Tony Facos, dressed in civilian clothing, arrived shortly before 9:30 a.m. to join the investigation.
It is the second fatal shooting in the city following the shooting death of Nathan Giffin, of Essex, after a nearly hour-long standoff at Montpelier High School in January 2017. After an investigation, the Attorney General’s Office did not press charges against any of the officers involved.
There was speculation about what occurred around 5:30 a.m. that led to the fatal shooting on Friday. Local residents walking back and forth stopped to look at the scene and ask questions, and TV crews and other media representatives also were present as the investigation continued.
One local resident, Conrad Boulanger, of Main Street, opposite Main Street Middle School, said a nearby neighbor told him that she heard shots fired around 5:30 a.m. as she set out on early morning errands.
“The first thing I heard about it was from the walker ... she walks the streets a lot,” Boulanger said but was unable to identify her by name.
A neighbor of Boulanger’s, Diane Tetrault, said she was concerned about the fatal shooting in a quiet, safe neighborhood.
“When I left the house about 7:15, my neighbor told me that the road was blocked off at the rotary, because I was heading off to go swimming at the pool,” Tetrault said. “But I have no idea what’s going on.
Tetrault said she was concerned that the shooting might have been crime-related.
Tetrault said she would appreciate more information to overcome the “fear factor” in the neighborhood and residents of the city.
"The sooner people know that everything is under control and that they’re safe, the better,” Tetrault said.
Other agencies assisting in the case are the Barre City Police Department and the University of Vermont Police Department.