By Guy Page,
When a would-be burglar forced his way into a Royalton home early this morning, one of the homeowners responded with gunfire. The intruder was not injured but was, shortly thereafter, arrested and jailed, police say.
State police say that at 50 minutes after midnight, they received a report of a break-in at a residence on Route 14 in Royalton. Troopers responded and found that Jesse J. Durkee, 38, of Royalton, had accessed the residence by force through a locked door.
Home at the time were homeowners Andrew Alinovich, 50, the owner of a real estate and restoration business, and Elizabeth Willhite, 50, a prominent Vermont attorney.
Durkee threatened the couple when entering the residence. One of the homeowners (police don’t say which one) responded to the active home invasion by firing one round from a Sig Sauer pistol while inside the home.
Durkee did not sustain any injury from the incident as the bullet traveled through the home and to the exterior. Troopers took Durkee into custody and transported him to the Vermont State Police Royalton Barracks for processing on charges of burglary and criminal threatening. He was lodged at Southern State Correctional Facility. Bail was set at $10,000.
Durkee has an arrest record with local police. This March, he was the key suspect in a violent altercation between 6-10 people wielding bats and guns on Moses Lane in South Royalton. Shots were fired and windows were broken, and Durkee was identified by police as one of the ringleaders.
10 years ago he was arrested by Royalton police on an out-of-state warrant. A month later he was arrested for domestic assault.