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January 7, 2019

Investigation underway following non-fatal officer-involved shooting in Arlington





Investigation underway following non-fatal officer-involved shooting in Arlington

Suspect undergoing treatment for gunshot wounds after firing multiple rounds at troopers

ARLINGTON, Vermont (January 7, 2019) — An investigation is underway Monday following a police shooting in the southwestern Vermont town of Arlington involving an armed man who fired multiple times at state troopers.

The individual, Matt Novick, 40, of 535 Red Mountain Rd. in Arlington, is undergoing treatment for multiple gunshot wounds at Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York. 

The incident began with a 911 call to the Vermont State Police at about 3:50 a.m. from a relative of Novick who lives in a nearby home. The caller reported that Novick was experiencing a mental-health crisis. Two Vermont State Police troopers from the Shaftsbury Barracks responded, arriving on scene at about 4:40 a.m.

On their arrival, the troopers saw an individual later identified as Novick standing in the doorway area of the home and carrying what appeared to be an AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle. The troopers parked in the road at the base of the driveway. Additional state troopers and police officers from local departments were called to the scene to assist.

Shortly after 5 a.m., police on scene heard a number of gunshots being fired from the area of the Novick home. Several officers began to evacuate residents from nearby homes on Red Mountain Road when they heard additional gunfire from the area near the mouth of the driveway. 

Preliminary investigation indicates Novick had advanced down the driveway and fired in the direction of law enforcement. Troopers took cover and returned fire. Novick was struck multiple times. He was taken into custody and immediately provided medical assistance before being transported by ambulance to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington and then flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center in New York. Novick underwent surgery earlier today, and his condition is unknown.

Multiple bullet holes were found in the state police cruiser of the first responding troopers.

Per Vermont State Police policy, the two troopers who fired their weapons will be placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of five days. Their identities are being withheld, also per policy. The shooting is being investigated by the Vermont State Police's Major Crime Unit. The investigation will be reviewed independently by both the Vermont Attorney General's Office and the Bennington County State's Attorney's Office to determine whether the shooting was justified. 

Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, noted that there has been an increase in incidents during the past 18 months in which confrontations between members of the public and state troopers has led to officer-involved shootings.

"The frequency of these incidents is highly concerning, and the police, public, mental-health community and leaders of the state need to closely examine this trend and work hard to reverse it," Birmingham said. "Today we are fortunate to have avoided the murder of multiple state troopers. I am thankful no police officers were injured, and that there was no loss of life." 

Added Birmingham: "The events of earlier today are a stark reminder that Vermont state troopers and all law enforcement in Vermont put their lives on the line each day to protect and serve the public."

Investigators will be available to speak to the media at 3 p.m. at the Vermont State Police Barracks in Shaftsbury, located at 96 Airport Road. No further information is available at this time.

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