BENNINGTON — One of three individuals caught on a doorbell surveillance video shooting into a Bennington apartment building has been arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Caleb Rivera, 19, of Springfield, Mass., was arrested three weeks ago by the Springfield Gang Task Force in Springfield. His arrest came nearly two months after a Bennington judge issued a warrant for him related to the September 2022 shooting incident caught on two surveillance videos, including a doorbell video of the two-way gunfight. He was extradited to Vermont last Friday and arraigned Monday afternoon in Bennington.
According to a police affidavit, a doorbell video recorder across from a Bennington apartment complex at 715 Main St. caught shadowy figures entering and leaving an apartment staircase right before a volley of bullets flew from an upstairs window, followed by the unmistakable sounds of a gunfight.
Bennington Police recovered the video from a neighboring home during an investigation into a report of a possible shooting and several people yelling at a cemetery near 715 Main St. just before midnight on Sept. 22.
The motion-sensor video recorder, given to police at the scene by a community member, shows three people loitering in the dark alley outside an external staircase leading to a landing at 715 Main St. before all three climb up the stairs. The video recorder is then triggered again as two individuals come down the staircase and head off in opposite directions, one toward Main Street and the other toward the Morgan Street Cemetery.
Moments later, the video shows someone shooting out of a second-floor window in that building, as several rounds echo loudly in the darkness, and gunshot smoke billows from the window. The initial shots are immediately followed by what sounds like multiple gunshots from several directions simultaneously.
According to Bennington Police Sgt. Jason Burnham, police were called to the scene of the possible shooting, where they located several shell casings around the area and, after a search of the apartment and cemetery, found other casings at the bottom of the staircase and a loaded “ghost” firearm from the Morgan Cemetery. A ghost firearm is a cheaply-made gun produced by a 3D printer. Ghost guns do not have serial numbers and cannot be tracked.
“We believe there were several volleys of shots from inside and outside of the apartment,” said BPD Lt. Camillo Grande. “Those volleys were seconds apart.”
According to the affidavit, one of the people seen on the videos was Rivera. Several witnesses and suspects told police that the trio arrived at the residence as part of a gang-related turf war in Bennington. It was revealed that a rival gang called “Oblock” were occupying the targeted apartment, and the trio was allegedly there to remove them.
Rivera is being held without bail at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, pending a weight of evidence hearing. He faces a possible life sentence with a presumptive minimum of 20 years behind bars if convicted.
A second person caught on the doorbell videos had previously been arrested and is awaiting trial. A third suspect, Jonathan Nazario, also from Massachusetts, has an active arrest warrant and has not been found. Nazario is also facing an attempted murder charge upon his arrest. He also has additional pending charges in Vermont, including fentanyl trafficking, possession of cocaine, conspiracy and eluding a police officer.
Bennington Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are both involved in the ongoing investigation.