Evidence still sought in Bridport shooting

BRIDPORT — Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster’s decision on whether to prosecute the suspect in an Aug. 13 accidental shooting in Bridport is not likely to happen for several days as Vermont State Police continue their investigation into the case.
Peter Damone, 76, was listed in “guarded” condition in an induced coma at the Fletcher Allen Health Care intensive care unit on Tuesday after being hit in the face by a .45-caliber bullet while in his backyard at a little after 8 p.m. last Friday, his wife Dorothy Damone reported.
Police suspect the round was fired by Tracy M. Stone, 35, who had been target shooting in his own backyard around four-tenths of a mile away. Dorothy Damone called in the emergency and rescue officials took her husband to Porter Hospital, where he was evaluated and quickly transferred to Fletcher Allen hospital in Burlington.
“We are coping,” Dorothy Damone said during a brief phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “He is hanging in there.”
VSP Det. Sgt. Robert Patten is leading the investigation into the case. He said he expects to have his investigation wrapped up in around two weeks. Patten explained a key piece of evidence has yet to be collected.
“The round that hit the victim is still in the victim’s body,” Patten said. “More surgery is scheduled.”
Authorities are optimistic surgeons will remove the bullet by this Thursday, Aug. 19. State police have already collected firearms and other evidence from Stone, whom Patten described as “very cooperative.”
Detectives from the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been conducting follow-up interviews and scene work. Vermont Department of Fish and Game wardens have assisted in reconstructing the incident.
Damone has understandably been unable to speak to investigators due to his injuries.
Fenster said he wants to review the completed VSP investigation and conduct a site visit before determining whether to press charges against Stone in connection with the incident.
“It is too soon to tell,” Fenster said. “We have not made any decisions yet.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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