Burlington Police Chief: March gunfire incidents echo mass shootings in Boulder, Atlanta

Vermont News

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – A shopping center in Colorado and several spas in Atlanta became scenes of terror as gunshots took the lives of innocent people one week apart.

Closer to home, Burlington police are noting what Chief Jon Murad called “a troubling uptick in gunfire” in the Queen City. But he said it is a very different phenomenon than what is taking place nationally.

“When we have individuals discharging firearms in our city, it gives us great concern, irrespective if someone is hit because the differences between a shooting incident and an aggravated assault or homicide is inches,” Murad said.

In 2020, the department reported four shooting incidents. In March 2021 alone, there have been two incidents of gunfire. 

“We saw an attempted murder on Walnut Street a few weeks ago, and on Friday night we saw an instance in which we believe a vehicle pursuing another vehicle discharged a number of rounds from what we believe was an AR-15 type platform at an unknown victim,” said Murad.

One Burlington woman said Friday’s gunfire happened a block from her home.

“When you think of a quaint, lovely, tight-knit community or city, you think that could never happen here,” said Lauren Whittaker. “But at this point in time with Colorado, with Atlanta, with everything over the past 20 years or so, it can happen anywhere at this point.”

Murad says the strategy to follow in an active shooter scenario is pretty basic: “The hierarchy is run, hide, fight. Run being the most preferable, hide if you can’t run, and fight if you must,” he said. 

Murad said neither the mass shootings or periodic gunfire closer to home should make anyone live in fear. Instead, he said, be aware and have a plan. 

“…I do want neighbors to recognize that these things can happen, they do happen, they are going to happen somewhere and that if they do, people have to give some thought as to what they will do in that moment,” said Murad.

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