Police shot and killed an Essex man at the Montpelier High School athletic fields today after he allegedly robbed a bank and threatened police during a 50-minute standoff, a news release said Tuesday evening.
Police say Nathan Giffin, 32, of Essex, robbed the Vermont State Employee Credit Union at gunpoint around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning while wearing a mask and all black clothing.
After leaving with an undisclosed amount of money, he crossed the street toward the high school and walked down an adjacent bike path, where he was seen by a Montpelier Police Department school resource officer, who drove his vehicle down the path toward Giffin.
Giffin then “took a position” on the athletic field bleachers, at which time the officer saw his handgun and informed the high school, prompting a lockdown, the news release said.
Numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Vermont State Police tactical services and crisis negotiation units, responded to the high school and surrounded Giffin shortly after 10:10 a.m., the news release said.
As police then attempted to negotiate with Giffin, he threatened officers and made suicidal statements while ignoring orders to hand over his weapon, the news release said. Fifty minutes later, police shot him.
Giffin was transported to the Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, where he was later pronounced dead. Police say his body has since been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington for an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
Evidence collected from the scene included a silver and black Umarex 40XP BB pistol.
In a news release Tuesday evening, sent more than eight hours after the shooting, police said nine officers discharged their weapons: eight from VSP and one Montpelier officer. In a subsequent release late Wednesday afternoon, VSP said the following officers were involved in the shooting:
- Sgt. Lyle Decker, VSP
- Sgt. Eugene Duplissis, VSP
- Sgt. Charles Winn, VSP
- Sgt. David White, VSP
- Trooper Christopher Brown, VSP
- Trooper Brandon Degre, VSP
- Trooper Isaac Merriam, VSP
- Michael B. Philbrick, Montpelier Police Department
The VSP officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, per VSP policy.
Police report Giffin had an extensive criminal history that dates back to 2002, including offenses for possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, petit larceny, DUI, unlawful mischief, unlawful trespass, larceny, multiple burglaries and a violation of abuse prevention order.
He was also convicted in 2012 on federal charges stemming from a bank robbery in Williamstown.
The Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit is now investigating the incident, with the consultation of the Washington County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General’s Office, both of whom will conduct independent reviews to determine whether the shooting was justified.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the major crime unit at 229-9191.