By Michael Bielawski,
The Queen City saw more crime this weekend including a double shooting and the police station was set on fire.
Online commentators are apparently frustrated by the continued trend of more shootings, retail thefts, and other serious crimes over the recent years since the City Council defunded their police department by about a third.
@JustinTuthill challenged those who insist Burlington is still safe to defend yet another rough weekend. He wrote, “Where is our, "Burlington isn't that bad" crew? #VTPoli Three shootings and a police station set on fire in one weekend. Maybe time to reassess our policies” the tweet states. There was no response as of early Monday afternoon.
A double shooting
At 9:13 on Sunday evening, the police department got calls about gunfire at a residence on Decatur Street. Police responded and found two victims, one already dead and another who died shortly afterward at the hospital. Both men were shot in the head.
Members of the BPD’s Detective Services Bureau as well as the Chittenden County Gun Violence Task Force are investigating the case.
Just a little over an hour earlier there was another shooting that may have been related to this but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. The same police report states that the department got reports of gunfire from the area around 101 Main Street.
“Responding officers did not find any victims or perpetrators. Witnesses reported seeing two males flee, in apparent possession of a firearm. Patrol officers recovered ballistics evidence sufficient to confirm a gunfire incident,” the report states. “... It is currently unknown if the two incidents are related.”
Arson at the police station
The police are reporting that there was arson at the police station set at about 2 AM on Monday morning, just hours after the department had to deal with the shootings.
The report states, that someone went into the vestibule of their department and set fire to items in the room. This activated the sprinkler system which mixed with the smoke and caused enough damage to force a temporary relocation for their dispatch center. They had to work out of the South Burlington department until the fire department was able to declare the building OK again for that work.
The report also states, “The criminal investigation into this incident is ongoing. No persons were injured in the fire, but it is currently estimated that police headquarters sustained thousands of dollars of damage.”
More frustrated responses on social media
On VtDigger’s posting of their article on the double shooting there were numerous commenters on X who were also expressing frustration.
@pnshdvermonster wrote in apparent sarcasm, “Stop fear-mongering. Burlington is perfectly safe. These clearly have nothing to do with the rampant drug use and unhoused immigrants.”
@CarlyMarie32 suggested that out-of-staters have brought soft-on-crime policies to the state. He wrote, “Welcome to Vermont, where politicians moved in from another crappy state to make Vermont crappy! Keep voting blue 🤪😳”
@BaizouDr would like to see whoever lit the fire at the station brought to justice.
“Setting the fire to make the department scramble seems very deliberate to cause chaos. I hope the perpetrator is as vigorously investigated as the presumed black murderers,” she wrote.
@RowdyYates8 reminded that the department was defunded by about a third by the City Council back in 2020. He wrote, “DEFUND THE POLICE IS WORKING as ''PLANNED”. THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE WANT.”
Another @busted_chard took aim at Chittenden County District Attorney Sarah George stating simply, “@SarahFairVT is bad.”
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle