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Tufts Shooting: Press Conference Statement of Colonel James Baker, Director, Vermont State Police:

By admin • Apr 23rd, 2008 • Category: News

DISCLAIMER - Any Charges Reported in these Press Releases are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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Below is the statement Colonel James Baker addressed at the Press Conference that was held at the Bradford Barracks at 3:30 this afternoon:

Press Conference Statement of Colonel James Baker, Director, Vermont State Police:

I want to share with you information pertaining to the Officer Involved Shooting that occurred last night in the town of Bradford.   I will address the known facts of the investigation pertaining to this incident, and this incident alone.  I will allow a short question/answer period following my statement, so I ask that you withhold all questions until the end and to not interrupt me. 

The identity of the subject in this case has been confirmed as being Darren Tufts age 41 of Bradford.

This morning I met with the family members of Mr. Tufts in Bradford.  Family members present were his long time girlfriend and his 22 year old daughter.  I expressed to them my condolences at the loss of their boyfriend and father.  Also present were siblings of the Mr. Tufts.  I gave my word to the family that at this point in the investigation I would not share the background of Mr. Tufts. 

In addition to offering my condolences, I pledged to the family of Mr. Tufts that a fair and impartial investigation would be conducted.   As Director it is my responsibility to ensure this.  

This tragic situation is not easy for anyone to deal with.  This is very difficult for Mr. Tufts’ family and it is very difficult for the Vermont State  Police.  

 I will provide you with the facts of the investigation as I know them to be:

 On the evening of April 22, 2008 at approximately 8:22PM, the Bradford Police Chief Gene Martin was called to respond to 1284 Lower Plain Road in Bradford for a reported noise disturbance.  The residence was known to be a multiple occupied dwelling.  The Vermont State Police also responded at the request of Chief Martin.

 ·         This was the third call to the residence for a noise complaint on this evening.  On the first two attempts, police officers on the scene were unable to make contact with Mr. Tufts. 

 ·         The third phone call reported shots being fired inside the apartment. 

    ·         When the Chief and the Troopers arrived on scene, they attempted to make contact with Darren Tufts.  At one point, Chief Martin saw Mr. Tufts and attempted to communicate with him.  He did not respond to Chief Martin.

 ·         Two members of the Vermont State Police, Sgt. Michael Manley and Trooper Hugh O’Donnell observed Mr. Tufts on the back side of the residence holding an assault rifle. 

  ·         The Troopers announced their presence and Mr. Tufts responded by raising and pointing the  assault rifle in the direction of the Troopers.  

 ·         As a result of the imminent threat of danger, Sgt. Manley and Trooper O’Donnell fired their service weapons.  Mr. Tufts was hit multiple times.  

 ·         At this point, the Troopers saw that the residence was on fire, flames and smoke were seen coming from the residence.  The Troopers advanced to where Mr. Tufts was lying on the ground in order to remove him from the danger of the fire.     

 ·         After removing Mr. Tufts from the area of the fire, Sgt. Manley and Tpr. O’Donnell determined that Mr. Tufts was deceased.  

 ·         The investigation to date has revealed that at the time Mr. Tufts was shot, he was carrying an assault rifle and a large caliber handgun.

 ·         Local fire departments responded and suppressed the fire. 

 ·         The Vermont State Police Fire Investigation Unit along with Office of Fire Safety is currently conducting an investigation to the origin and cause of the fire.

 ·         An investigative team from outside the area is in charge of the investigation in coordination with the Attorney General’s Office and the Orange County State Attorney’s Office.     

 ·         An autopsy on Mr. Tufts is scheduled to be performed this afternoon by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington to determine the cause and manner of death.  

 ·         Sgt. Manley and Tpr. O’Donnell  have been placed on Administrative Leave.  This is a standard procedure used in order to allow employees involved in fatal shootings to access appropriate support. This is not a form of punishment.   

 ·         Myself and Major John Filipek, the Field Force Commander, personally met this morning with Sgt. Manley and Tpr. O’Donnell to check on their well being.  At this point in the investigation, there is nothing to indicate that Sgt. Manley and Tpr. O’Donnell acted  outside the scope of their authority.  It is too early in the investigation for me to render an opinion due to the fact that this investigation is very active.  

 ·         I would like to thank Bradford Fire Department, Thetford Fire Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Upper Valley Rescue, Newbury Fire Department, Orford New Hampshire Police Department, Piermont New Hampshire Fire Department, Bradford EMS, Town Officials in Bradford, Local Merchants and other citizens of Bradford for their support of not only the Vermont State Police, but the family of Mr. Tufts during this trying time. 

 I will open it up to questions.  However, I will not be able to discuss the background of Mr. Tufts, the backgrounds of the Troopers involved or other investigative details due to the fact that this is still an active investigation.    

 After today, the Vermont State Police will no longer comment on this investigation.  Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office will be the point of contact.       

#########

(End of statement)

Sgt. Tara Thomas

Public Information Officer

Quartermaster

Vermont State Police – HQ

103 So. Main Street

Waterbury, VT 05671-2101

Office: 802-241-5277

Fax: 802-241-5551

STATE OF VERMONT

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

VERMONT STATE POLICE

Incident: April 22, 2008 Officer Involved Shooting – Bradford, VT

Date of Press Conference:  April 23, 2008 at 3:30pm

DO NOT REPLY to this message. If you have any further inquiries please contact the sender directly at the indicated office number provided. Vermont Department of Public Safety

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