Police investigate suspicious death in Brattleboro

'Multiple persons of interest' sought

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BRATTLEBORO — A Vermont man died Friday morning outside the Econo Lodge under suspicious circumstances, according to Brattleboro police.

Police said they detained a man and removed him from the scene while the initial investigation was being conducted. The unidentified man was later released without being charged, with police saying there were "multiple persons of interest" in the suspicious death.

Brattleboro Police Capt. Mark Carignan said police received multiple calls at about 5:45 a.m. Friday about a fight or disturbance behind the Canal Street motel, and while police were responding they got another call that a man was on the ground and unresponsive.

According to a press release issued late Friday afternoon, the man was covered in blood, yelling and threatening another person before he became unconscious.

Rescue Inc., which is next door to the Econo Lodge, responded immediately and began CPR and other treatment, but the man succumbed to his injuries, Carignan said.

Police said the man's name was being withheld pending notification of his family.

Police originally took one man into custody, or "detained" him, while they conducted the initial phase of the investigation, but he was released later in the day, according to the press release. Carignan said the man was never arrested. He declined to say whether police recovered any weapon at the scene.

But police said there were "multiple persons of interest" in their investigation, which they said was ongoing.

Police said one man, Alex Symanski, 30, of Brattleboro, was arrested and charged with simple assault as part of the investigation.

Carignan said the two men knew each other, and he said police believe that while neither man was from Brattleboro, one man was believed to be staying at the Econo Lodge.

He said police were investigating the possibility that the confrontation involved self-defense.

The Econo Lodge has been used, along with other Brattleboro motels, to house the homeless after Gov. Phil Scott's 'stay home, stay safe' order in March concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

Carignan said he didn't know if either man was one of those homeless clients.

Assistant Regional Medical Examiner Archer Mayor responded to the scene, and the man's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Burlington for an autopsy, he said.

He said there was no danger to the general public after the incident, and he declined to say whether any weapon was recovered by police.

Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver said the people involved in the death were from Vermont, and not from out of state, but like Carignan, she declined to further identify the people involved.

Earlier this month, there was a shooting at the Econo Lodge involving construction workers from Mississippi. The shooting was over a card game, and Emanuel R. Tenner, 22, of Natchez, Miss., remains at the state prison in Springfield on charges of attempted murder. The victim in that incident has been released from the hospital, Shriver said. Both men worked on the interstate bridge project at Exit 6 in Rockingham.

Carignan said the three detectives of the Brattleboro Police Department were working on the case and were being assisted by four patrol officers, who were maintaining security at the scene.

Crime scene tape surrounded a late model blue pickup truck as well as other outside areas at the motel.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Brattleboro police at 802 257-7950.

Photographer Kristopher Radder contributed to this report.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com.


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