A man was shot late Tuesday night by a Vermont State trooper during a struggle in an empty Danville school bus.
Police allege that William J. Mahoney, of St. Johnsbury, stole his girlfriend’s car, crashed it into a highway divider in Danville, and fled. They believe he broke into a local residence before taking cover in an empty school bus in the parking lot of the nearby Danville School. In the bus, police say, he used the town’s radio to warn that he had a handgun, and that two people were going to die. He allegedly threatened suicide. A trooper entered the bus. Two other troopers say they spotted a holster at his waist.
"Mahoney then made several overt movements toward the holster, and began to advance on the trooper," Colonel Tom L’Esperance told reporters at a press conference. "Believing that Mahoney was reaching for a gun inside the holster, the trooper discharged his service weapon five times, striking the male subject once. Troopers on scene immediately rendered medical assistance and an ambulance was dispatched,"L’Esperance said.
Mahoney is in stable condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Police say Mahoney has an extensive criminal record, and that the Parole Board had been trying to locate him earlier in the evening. Colonel L’Esperance says that mental health professionals were not summoned because the situation was dangerous.
Police say the holster turned out to be empty but that Mahoney was carrying CO2 cartridges and they also found a BB handgun in the car that Mahoney allegedly abandoned.
Consistent with policy, the trooper is not being named, and is on paid leave pending further investigation.