Arlington man wounded after firing at troopers
This story was updated at 8:51 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2019.
ARLINGTON — An Arlington man who shot at state troopers Monday morning with what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle was airlifted to Albany Medical Center after troopers returned fire, striking him "multiple times," according to the Vermont State Police.
Matt Novick, 40, of 535 Red Mountain Road, is being treated for multiple gunshot wounds sustained during the incident, police say. No one else was wounded.
The incident began after a relative of Novick who lives nearby called Vermont State Police around 3:50 a.m. Monday to report that Novick was having a “mental health crisis,” Maj. Dan Trudeau said during a press conference held at the Shaftsbury barracks of the state police. The call was placed from the relative’s home, said Adam Silverman, VSP public information officer.
Two Vermont State Police troopers from the Shaftsbury Barracks arrived at the scene around 4:40 a.m. They reported seeing Novick standing in the doorway of the home, carrying "what appeared to be an AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle."
The troopers parked in the road at the base of the driveway and called additional troopers and police officers to assist at the scene. Shortly after 5 a.m., police say they heard "a number of gunshots" fired from the area of the home and then the driveway, leading police to evacuate residents from nearby homes. At the press conference, Trudeau said it is not certain whether the first gunshots came from inside the house or outside.
At around 5:50 a.m., Novick walked down his driveway and fired in the direction of police, Trudeau said. Troopers then took cover and two returned fire, and Novick was struck "multiple times." The two troopers have not been identified.
Multiple bullet holes were found in the police cruiser of the first responding troopers, police said.
Novick was taken into custody and given medical assistance before being taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington by ambulance, then flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. Police say Novick underwent surgery, but his condition was unknown as of Monday evening.
Novick lives at the Red Mountain Road home with another man who was not home at the time of the incident, police said.
Crime scene technicians were processing the scene as of Monday afternoon, Trudeau said.
By early afternoon, crime scene technicians were combing through the area performing an initial survey, searching the ground in the driveway of a home across the street from where Novick lived. Seven orange cones marked the location of spent cartridges in the middle and edge of the road. An American flag lay crumpled on the ground in front of the house.
Police had completely blocked the road preventing anybody from getting in or out of homes at the very end of the dead-end road.
Novick does not appear to have any criminal history. Police responded to a call in November for a "disturbance" involving a roommate, Trudeau said, but there were no charges filed in that incident.
As Vermont State Police policy mandates, the two troopers who shot at Novick will be placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of five days. Their identities are being withheld at this time, however they will be interviewed for the investigation “over the course of the next couple days.”
The shooting is being investigated by the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, and the investigation will be reviewed independently by both the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Bennington County State's Attorney's office to determine whether the shooting was justified.
Silverman declined to say whether police seized any weapons from Novick, and why police believe Novick was standing in the doorway with the gun when police arrived. Police also declined to discuss Novick's mental status.
Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, noted in a release that there has been an increase in incidents during the past 18 months in which confrontations between members of the public and state troopers has led to officer-involved shootings.
"The frequency of these incidents is highly concerning, and the police, public, mental-health community and leaders of the state need to closely examine this trend and work hard to reverse it," Birmingham said. "Today we are fortunate to have avoided the murder of multiple state troopers. I am thankful no police officers were injured, and that there was no loss of life."
Manchester, Bennington, and Winhall police assisted at the scene.
Christie Wisniewski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
Darren Marcy of the Manchester Journal contributed to this story.
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