Crime

Vermont State Police Log: Mystery of Starksboro shooting is solved

ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont State Police have pieced together the facts in a case that they say explains how a Winooski man ended up pulled over on the side of the road in St. George with a bullet in his leg fired from a gun in Starksboro.
Troopers from the New Haven barracks were called at 5:45 a.m. on May 29 to a reported accidental shooting. Initially, the people involved were uncooperative, police said, and told investigators that Tyler Branon, 31, of Winooski was accidentally shot in the leg by an unknown male.
After more than two months of investigation, state police said they’ve determined that that morning Brannon had gone to the Starksboro home of 41-year-old Isaac Liberty-Hanlon, and forced his way into the residence by breaking through the door. Branon, who was holding a cane as a weapon, forced his way through Liberty-Hanlon’s bedroom door and demanded money, police allege.
Liberty-Hanlon, while in bed, retrieved a handgun and fired a single round at Branon, hitting him in the leg.
Branon retreated to a car waiting outside with three other occupants, police said. The driver attempted to go to the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) when one of the occupants in the car called 911 for medical assistance. Hinesburg, Shelburne, and Williston police responded, along with VSP, and located the car on Route 116 in St. George. Responding officers met with occupants and provided first-aid to Branon until rescue personal arrived. The three police agencies assisted with the investigation.
Branon was treated at UVMMC for a gunshot wound to his leg and was released the same day.
Isaac Liberty-Hanlon is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing a handgun, according to police. VSP cited him for illegal possession of a firearm. Police cited Branon for burglary of an occupied dwelling. They are both scheduled to answer their respective charges in Addison County Superior Court, criminal division, on Sept. 21.
Police announced the results of the investigation on Aug. 12.
In other recent activity, troopers:
•  On Aug. 12 at 10:20 p.m. responded to a noisy disturbance off Richville Road in Shoreham. Troopers determined that Nicholas Karov, 37, of Shoreham had disturbed the public peace by making other unnecessary and offensive noise. They cited him for noise in the nighttime.
•  On Aug. 13 at 12:15 a.m. received a report of a possibly impaired driver on Court Street in Middlebury. State police stopped a vehicle driven by Shane McGrath, 26, of Addison and ultimately cited him for driving under the influence, second offense.
•  On Aug. 13 at 5:28 p.m. were on patrol on Route 7 near the intersection with Stage Road in Ferrisburgh, when they saw a vehicle operating in a negligent manner by passing other vehicles — including a tractor-trailer — unsafely on a blind curve. The vehicle also left its lane of travel multiple times, police report. Troopers stopped the vehicle and cited Cameron Wood, 32, of St. Albans, for negligent driving.
•  On Aug. 14 at around 11:30 p.m. responded to a neighbor dispute in Starksboro. During the investigation troopers learned that Gary Bevins, 52, of Starksboro was in the area and staying with the offender. Troopers knocked on the door to the residence where Bevins was believed to be residing. Troopers arrested Bevins, who was the subject of an active arrest warrant for disorderly conduct. Bevins was lodged at the Southern State Correctional Facility.
On that same call, troopers looked into a report of a woman — later identified as Shannon Merrick, 50, of Starksboro — being loud and damaging property. Police allege Merrick damaged a building and property including a vehicle along with sweating at the homeowner. Police cited Merrick for disorderly conduct/unlawful mischief.
•  On Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. looked into a report of a man sleeping in a car parked on the side of Snake Mountain Road in Weybridge. Troopers found the man asleep in the driver seat, parked at an entrance to a cornfield. The man told police he had driven there early in the morning to sleep. They cited the man, identified as 42-year-old Michael LaFountain of Weybridge, for driving with a criminally suspended license.
Addison County law enforcement agencies will conduct impaired driving checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the county from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 as part of the Governor’s Highway Safety Labor Day holiday campaign, according to Mark Stacey, the Addison County Highway Safety Coordinator. Officers will also be vigilant for distracted driving offenders and drivers who are not wearing seatbelts. They ask all to drive responsibly by wearing seatbelts, not drinking and driving, and not using cell phones while driving.

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