Former United States Attorney Christina Nolan has received endorsements from two police associations as Vermont’s largest city continues to see shootings on a regular basis.
The 13th gunfire incident this year in the Queen City occurred shortly after midnight Saturday morning near the Marketplace Parking Garage downtown, according to the Burlington Police Department.
“At approximately 12:44 a.m., Burlington Police Department dispatchers received multiple 911 calls for sounds of gunshots and screaming in the vicinity of the Marketplace Parking Garage in downtown Burlington. The involved parties fled the scene prior to the arrival of responding officers,” a BPD press release states.
Two individuals in two larger groups were involved in the gunfight, but no one was hurt.
“Officers and detectives recovered additional ballistics evidence and canvassed extensively,” the police report states. “This investigation is ongoing and in the earliest stages, however, there was no indication that anyone was struck by the gunfire.”
In 2021, the city saw 11 gunfire incidents through August. Acting Police Chief Jon Murad has noted that in prior years the city might experience two or three gun incidents in a full year.
Earlier this month, Mayor Miro Weinberger issued a warning to potential shooters about the city’s willingness to crack down on gun crime.
“I want the individuals who are repeatedly committing these crimes to hear, if you recklessly discharge a firearm in Burlington you are going to be arrested and you are going to be held accountable,” he said.
Amid an increase in shootings in Burlington and across Vermont, former United States Attorney Christina Nolan has stepped up her criticisms of U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who announced his run for U.S. Senate earlier this year. Nolan, a Republican who is running on a campaign to support the police, recently called the congressman “soft on crime.”
Her pro-police stance has garnered support from two prominent police associations. On June 15, during an appearance at Battery Park, Nolan formally received the endorsement of the Burlington Police Officers’ Association and the South Burlington Police Officers’ Association.
“From her time as U.S. Attorney, she has been a strong advocate for law enforcement and public safety,” said Oren Byrne, vice president of the Burlington Police Officers’ Association. “In the past, we have not typically endorsed candidates for statewide elections, but given the recent rise in violent crime, and the negative impacts of the defund the police movement, we feel that is more important than ever to support common-sense voices who understand that law enforcement plays an integral part of any safe and vibrant community.”
Vermont State Police see two shootings within an hour on Sunday
The Vermont State Police also responded to shootings in separate towns Sunday night — one in Woodbury shortly after 10:00 p.m., and another 40 minutes later in Waterbury.
The incident in Woodbury involved a man shooting an acquaintance in the leg.
“Preliminary investigation indicates the shooting arose from a dispute among a group of people who knew one another,” the VSP police report states. “A person identified as the shooter was detained by other people at the home until state troopers arrived on scene, and he is currently in Vermont State Police custody and considered a person of interest.”
The next shooting, which occurred in a parking area near 22 N. Main St. in Waterbury, involved the victim and multiple witnesses.
“Three people reportedly were in a parked car when unknown individuals approached the vehicle on foot, at which time one of them struck the driver, an adult man, over the head with a gun, and then shot the driver in the upper torso,” the report states.
Rising shootings not exclusive to Vermont
Major cities throughout the nation are experiencing similar jumps in crime.
“Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Atlanta have all seen homicide numbers outpace their mark from 2021 halfway through this year, with Milwaukee seeing the largest spike of the group,” Fox News reported. “Wisconsin’s largest city has recorded 96 homicides as of June 17 compared to 77 at this time a year ago, a 24.7% increase.”
In Burlington, rising crime is widely being associated with a decision in June of 2022 by the City Council to reduce the local police force by about 30 percent.