Police: Arlington shooting suspect owned dozens of guns

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ARLINGTON — Sixty-one firearms, including at least one assault weapon, were seized from the home of the Arlington man who pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a weapon after police say he shot at them several times outside of his home in January.

During the early afternoon hours of Jan. 7, hours after the early morning incident, Vermont State Police were granted a search warrant at the home of Matthew Novick, 40, at 535 Red Mountain Road.

The warrant permitted police to search for firearms, ammunition, spent casings, shotgun wadding, projectiles and projectile fragments; documentation to indicate Novick's mental status, items where "trace evidence, body fluids and biological matter where DNA can be found," prescription medications, and illegal drugs.

In the search warrant inventory logged by police after the search, 111 items were recovered. However, police believe Novick was in legal possession of the firearms.

"As far as we know he was the owner of the guns and it was legal for him to possess the guns," said Vermont State Police Capt. Scott Dunlap.

Following his Jan. 17 arraignment, Novick was held without bail at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility, at the state's request. If convicted of the attempted murder charge, Novick faces a minimum of 35 years to life in prison.

Jan. 7 incident

The Jan. 7 incident began after a relative of Novick who lives nearby called State Police in the early morning hours to report that Novick was having a "mental health crisis" at his home, said police.

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."

After calling for backup, police said they heard "a number of gunshots" fired from the area of the home and the driveway, which led police to evacuate nearby residences.

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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 troopers who returned fire were identified as Trooper Shawn Sommers and Trooper Raymond Witkowski. They will remain on administrative duty through the completion of independent incident reviews by the Attorney General's Office and the State's Attorney's Office, as mandated by recently-revised VSP policy for troopers involved in critical incidents.

Multiple bullet holes were found in the police cruiser of the first responding troopers, police said. The number of rounds fired by Novick and officers is under investigation.

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., where he underwent surgery. Ten days after being taken to the hospital, Novick appeared at the criminal division of the Bennington County Superior Court to plead not guilty to the charges.

Search warrant

In addition to the 61 shotguns, rifles, and pistols seized from Novick's home, police found multiple cartridges, casings, and ammunition. Some ammunition, listed on the inventory as one item, was labeled by police as "bulk ammunition." One item line reported "misc. bulk ammunition" consisting of "five separate bags," although police did not report the exact number of individual ammunition found.

Three 30-round magazines and one 40-round magazine were also found at Novick's home. High-capacity magazines such as these were made illegal to purchase in Vermont after Oct. 1, 2018, but it is unclear when Novick may have purchased these devices.

Some of the items were stored inside a gun safe in the living room, while others were stored outside of the safe, Dunlap said.

Four separate item lines reported miscellaneous prescription pills, but police were unable to share further details of what medication these pills consisted of, citing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, laws.

Other miscellaneous items listed on the inventory sheet included Novick's medical paperwork, some items with "RBS," or red-brown stains — labeled as such until the presence of blood can be confirmed by lab work —  and bullet fragments.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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