By JOHN S. McCRIGHT
LEICESTER — Four Connecticut men are in jail, a Leicester man has been shot and a police dog is dead in the wake of a shooting and carjacking incident that began on Lake Dunmore Road in Leicester late Tuesday night and ended after a police chase in Fair Haven.
Vermont State Police responded to a call from a Lake Dunmore Road resident at around 11 p.m. on Aug. 19 where they found Richard Carroll, 45, had been shot once in the leg. Carroll told police that he went to check on arguing he heard on the road in front of his house and that someone in a white Escalade SUV with Connecticut plates had shot him.
Alerted that the car was traveling south on Route 7 in Pittsford, a Rutland police officer attempted to deploy tire deflation spikes. A Rutland police K-9 named King Luther jumped out of the officer’s cruiser and was struck and killed by a state police cruiser that was involved in the pursuit of the Escalade.
Shortly after that, VSP received a report that several black men in a white Escalade had stopped to talk to three people parked on Wheelerville Road in Mendon and one of the men asked them for a ride. After the three people, who were driving a Chevy Cavalier, said no, the Escalade drove off but parked in a pull-off a short way ahead and ambushed the Cavalier, according to an affidavit filed in Rutland District Court by VSP Det. Sgt. Albert E. Abdelnour.
Police said the men in the Escalade blocked the road with their vehicle, brandished a knife, pulled the trio out of the Cavalier, punched and kicked them and stole a cell phone before driving off in the car. The victims walked to Route 4, where they flagged down a passerby, who called the VSP. Later they were treated at Rutland Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.
The men in the stolen Cavalier were spotted by a Castleton police officer and a chase ensued. The stolen car ran over another set of tire deflation spikes laid across Route 4 near exit 1 and crashed into a guardrail. Two of the four men in the car ran into the woods, Abdelnour reported. One of the suspects told police later that he took off his shirt to blend into the woods, another jumped into a pond in an attempt to elude capture.
But police using dogs apprehended and arrested all four men soon after the crash. In addition to state police, authorities involved in the chase and capture included a game warden and numerous police officers from multiple Vermont and New York agencies.
Abdelnour’s affidavit said that several of the four men apprehended — Rahe Autry, 22, George Gaston 23, Hasan Hickey, 19, and Mark Hunter, 21, all of Waterbury, Conn. — acknowledged involvement in various parts of the chase, but the most information came from Hickey. According to the affidavit, Hickey told police that the four men, joined by two others, started the evening in Hartford, Conn., smoking marijuana. Hickey and Gaston, his cousin, gave the two others, identified as “C” and “P,” $1,500 to buy more marijuana from a contact in Holyoke, Mass. The six drove toward Vermont in two vehicles and when the Escalade stopped for gasoline the car with C and P and the $1,500 continued north, so the four in the Escalade pursued them, according to the affidavit.
Hickey told police that they happened to find the second vehicle on what he believed was Route 22A, but was apparently Lake Dunmore Road. After the shooting the police chase followed and the four Waterbury, Conn., men were captured.
In Rutland District Court on Wednesday, all four were charged with felony counts of assault and robbery with injury resulting. Hickey, who drove the stolen car, also was charged with attempting to elude and police said he will be issued numerous traffic tickets.
The four were jailed at the Marble Valley Correction Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Police are still investigating the shooting and said on Wednesday that further charges may be forthcoming.