This past weekend Burlington experienced more gun-related incidents than the city would typically expect in a year. The incidents come as city councilors and the mayor continue to battle over how many police officers are needed on the force to protect local residents.
The first incident occurred at 11:38 p.m. Saturday when 911 received multiple calls claiming “a black male patron with dreadlocks had produced a firearm and pointed it at employees,” according to Burlington Police. After a brief chase officers “apprehended the suspect at gunpoint and by use of physical force.”
The suspect, Jahi Bennett-Gooden, 25, has a history with law enforcement in the area, the BPD release states.
“Mr. Bennett-Gooden was the subject of a previous press release on April 22, 2020, when he
allegedly robbed the Champlain Farms at S. Winooski Ave and Main Street and discharged
rounds inside the store,” it states. “An officer witnessed him discharge additional rounds at the building and its occupants as he fled; she was able to apprehend him in front of the Roxy Cinema. Since then he has had 13 additional police involvements prior to last night’s incident with a variety of Chittenden County law enforcement agencies.”
One police officer suffered what is believed to be a torn ACL during the incident. That officer may be assigned to limited duty for rehabilitation, further reducing the department’s patrol capability.
The suspect was not injured. Mr. Bennett-Gooden has been lodged with pre-trial conditions and is expected to be arraigned on Monday.
At 5:36 a.m. Sunday, 911 received multiple calls reporting “gunshots, people yelling, and a vehicle or vehicles speeding away in the vicinity of the intersection of Pine Street and Maple Street,” according to a statement from police.
A U-Haul truck was seen leaving the scene. Officers were able to gather ballistics evidence and later recovered a U-Haul truck reported stolen in Winooski.
Hours later, at 8:23 a.m., more calls came in reporting “gunshots and a fleeing vehicle or vehicles in the vicinity of Pine Street and King Street.” This time police found a discarded firearm. Also “a black sedan observed leaving the scene was located in Winooski and was determined to have been stolen,” according to police.
The incident Sunday is believed to be the fifth reported gunfire in 2022.
Between 2012 and 2019, Burlington experienced an average of two shootings per year. In 2020, however, the city experienced about a dozen instances of gunfire.