SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — NEWS10 is investigating the fallout of a shootout in Saratoga Springs that ended with responding officers opening fire on a Vermont deputy. Spa City officials say the initial shots fired involved a Glens Falls man who also works part-time as a sheriff’s deputy in Vermont.
Officials released officer body cam footage as well as security video, which they say shows an off-duty Rutland County, Vermont deputy, identified as Vito Caselnova, being physically attacked by individuals from Utica, New York. Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino told NEWS10 that Caselnova is seen on video indicating to the individuals that he is armed by lifting his shirt and showing a weapon. Montagnino said that was when another individual allegedly pulled out a handgun, began to fire, and then Caselnova returned fire.
Nearby officers who heard the shots rushed to the corner of Broadway and Caroline Street, and an officer can be heard over body cam video yelling for Caselnova to drop his weapon. Montagnino says the officer can be heard making the command eight times before responding officers shot him. Nearly a dozen rounds were discharged by three officers. Two people, including the deputy, are still being treated at Albany Medical Center.
Caselnova’s boss, Sheriff David Fox, told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that the wounds were life-threatening. “But he was in pretty good spirits for being shot,” he added.
Fox said the gun used in the shooting was not Caselnova’s department issued weapon. He says Caselnova is now on unpaid leave as the investigation moves forward. Fox said he feels his deputy may not have heard the responding officers’ commands to put his weapon down. “He’d been shot at least twice at that point by the other person involved. I’m sure there was tunnel vision with the deputy, and he may not have been actually comprehending the surroundings around him.”
But it’s a notion the Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner is not buying. “You can see and count for yourself the amount of time and the number of opportunities that our officers gave him,” said Montagnino.
So far, there are no charges in the investigation. Sheriff Fox says Caselnova joined his office in 2019 on a part-time basis and has not had any complaints or faced any disciplinary action. Anya also spoke with deputy Caselnova’s father, who claims his son was given little time to put down his weapon before the other officers fired, saying, “He did what he had to do. He didn’t start it. He didn’t cause it. He reacted properly and in the best way possible. And, in fact, it was all his training as a police officer that saved his life.”