2 dead, 3 injured in Essex shootings – 9:00 p.m.

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(Host) A series of shootings in Essex on Thursday have left two people dead, one of them a school teacher. Three others were injured in the shootings that occurred when a 26-year-old gunman went on a rampage.

VPR’s Patti Daniels reports.

(Daniels) Essex Police say the string of shootings were apparently the result of a domestic break-up. According to police, Christopher Williams went to his former girlfriend’s home at about one o’clock in the afternoon. There, police say he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend’s mother, 57-year-old Linda Lambesis.

Police said he then went to find his ex-girlfriend Andrea Lambesis at the Essex Elementary School. Chittenden County State’s Attorney Margaret Vincent:

(Vincent) “He went to the school and shots were fired. We are assuming that he went there because that’s where his girlfriend had gone, because she had an in-service that day.”

(Daniels) About 40 teachers and staff were on campus preparing for the first day of school next week.

Williams didn’t find his ex-girlfriend at the school. But police say he shot two other people there. 56-year-old Mary Shanks, a second grade teacher died after being shot at through the door of her classroom. Mary Snedeker was also injured in the shootings and was taken to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington. Officials say her injuries are not life-threatening. Police said there’s no known connection between the gunman and his victims in the school.

From Essex Elementary, Williams went to the nearby home of an acquaintance, Chad Johansen. Williams shot Johansen in the head and then shot himself in the head. Both Johansen and Williams were taken to Fletcher Allen.

Chief David Demag says the police were first made of aware of Williams about 13 hours before the shootings began.

(Demag) “At 12:45 a.m. we had received a phone call from Andrea Lambesis that indicated that she had had a fight with her ex-boyfriend and that he had borrowed her car to go to work. She had called his place of employment and determined he had not arrived at work. So at that point we put out a welfare check for this individual and were actively looking for him.”

(Daniels) Governor Jim Douglas issued a statement saying the state would provide a team of counselors to the shocked community. And he promised the support of the law enforcement system to help with the investigation.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Patti Daniels in Essex.

(Host) Victim Chad Johanson was in fair condition at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Mary Snedeker was in good condition at the hospital. And the shooter, Christopher Williams was also in fair condition.

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