Gunman in Rockingham sets barn on fire, ends in suicide

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ROCKINGHAM — An armed man barricaded himself in a house at 75 Parker Hill Road Friday afternoon, after police believe he set fire to a barn next door.

The man kept police and firefighters at bay for several hours, and then, shortly before 6 p.m., police discovered a man, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Vermont State Police spokesman Adam Silverman.

Silverman said the barn was destroyed in a fire, and that there were no other injuries.

Earlier in the afternoon, close to a dozen Vermont State Police troopers, armed with shotguns and automatic weapons, and wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests, were stationed in the woods and along the driveway leading to the home of Alli Lubin, which is located close to the Williams River.

Neighbor Tom Diliberto said he was away in Massachusetts Friday afternoon when the fire broke out, but he said one neighbor told him that after he saw the smoke, he kicked in the door to the barn and saw a man with a gun to his head.

Another neighbor, Diliberto said, heard a loud explosion and a large mushroom cloud of dark smoke, and she called in the fire department.

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Firefighters from around the area were staged shortly after 3:30 p.m., and ready to fight the fire, but the report of the armed gunman kept them at a distance and on a perimeter away from the gunman. Groups of firefighters waited on Parker Hill Road.

At the other end of the driveway, a small group of firefighters was trying to fight the barn fire, but at a safe distance.

"You're not in a safe place," one VSP trooper told a reporter and photographer from the Reformer, urging them to move away out of sight of the house.

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Earlier in the afternoon, Silverman said there were "no reports of any injuries at this time.

"We're responding to a barricaded subject. No further information is available, as the situation is dynamic and ongoing," he said.

As the afternoon wore on, more and more troopers arrived, including one with a police dog. At 5 p.m., there was a loud bang. At about 5:30 p.m., it started to rain.

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A short time later, at about 5:45 p.m., the VSP troopers left the scene, and firefighters got to work putting out the fire in the barn. Shortly after that, VSP investigators arrived.

"We can confirm now that one adult man has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A barn on the property has been destroyed by fire. No other injuries have been reported. The incident is under investigation. More information, including the identity of the deceased man, will be released as the investigation continues," Silverman wrote in an email, shortly before 6 p.m.

Fire departments from Walpole, N.H., Westminster, Springfield and Chester set up a tanker shuttle to bring water to the scene, to help Rockingham and Bellows Falls firefighters. At one point, a Bellows Falls firefighters could be seen carrying a water cannon nozzle to the scene, which was at the end of a long and narrow dirt driveway, clogged with fire trucks.

Lubin, a longtime music teacher at the Grammar School in Putney, has lived on Parker Hill for many years. The home is hidden from view, and is located on a piece of land between the Williams River and the Green Mountain Railroad tracks.

Photographer Kristopher Radder contributed to this story.

Contact Susan Smallheer at


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