Police affidavit points to accidental gunshot in Bristol killing
BRISTOL/MIDDLEBURY — A 14-year-old Burlington youth pleaded innocent in court Tuesday to charges that he had shot and killed a 14-year-old Shelburne boy in Bristol Monday night.
In Addison County Superior Court/Criminal Division in Middlebury, Hussein Mohamed made the pleas to charges of second degree murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault.
A Vermont State Police officer recounted in an affidavit how Mohamed and Madden Gouveia were sitting in a car with two other people outside a home at 120 North St. in Bristol a little before 7:20 p.m. on Oct. 30. They were passing around a Smith & Wesson M&P 9 handgun, and Mohamed apparently was fooling around with the weapon when it fired, striking Gouveia in the back and causing an injury that proved to be fatal.
“I didn’t mean to shoot you,” Mohamed said, according to a statement from the driver of the car who was quoted in the affidavit.
A call was made to 911, and Bristol police officer Frances Smith arrived at 7:24 p.m. State police arrived soon thereafter. According to the affidavit, police were told several different stories about what transpired. What was consistent is that Mason Bullock, 18, or New Haven drove up to 120 North St. around 6:30 that evening with Gouveia in the passenger seat and Mohamed in the back seat. A juvenile male at the home came out and got in the car, sliding in behind Bullock while Mohamed sat behind Gouveia.
In his affidavit, state police Detective Sgt. Seth Richardson did not speculate on why the four young men were in the car, noting that he was not providing every detail of the investigation, but just enough to show probable cause and take the case to the next stage.
The youths initially told police that another car had pulled up behind them, someone jumped out and shot Gouveia through the back window before racing away. The officer, however, noted that the window was closed and intact. One of the trio told police that Mohamed was in the house at the time of the shooting, not in the car.
Under questioning at the New Haven state police barracks, Bullock and the juvenile male who was not identified by name or age told police a different story. In one account, Gouveia showed off the Smith & Wesson gun, implying, apparently, that it was stolen.
State police allege that Mohamed was holding the handgun while sitting in the rear, passenger-side seat of a vehicle parked outside North Street home. State police were told that Gouveia “passed the gun” to the unnamed juvenile sitting in the rear seat, who then “removed the magazine and racked the gun to clear (empty) it” and “put a round/bullet in the magazine and put the magazine back into the gun.”
According to the affidavit, Mohamed then “grabbed the gun and racked it.” The unnamed juvenile managed to get the magazine out of the gun while Mohamed held it, he told police.
State police were told that Mohamed was “waving the gun around at which time it went off.” Bullock told state police that he and Gouveia were speaking with one another when “he heard the gun fire with a loud bang.” According to the affidavit, Bullock heard Gouveia say that he was shot and “then heard Mohamed say, ‘I didn’t mean to shoot you.’”
Bullock hauled Gouveia out of the car and, he told police, and a female neighbor came and gave the bleeding teen CPR.
The unnamed juvenile went into the house and hid the gun’s magazine under his bed, where the police later found it. Police also later found the gun on the lawn.
First responders found Gouveia critically injured and rendered aid before transporting him by ambulance to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after 9 p.m.
Det. Sgt. Richardson’s affidavit did not give Mohamed’s take on the events.
During the arraignment in court in Middlebury on Tuesday afternoon, the state’s attorney asked that the proceedings continue in secret because of the juveniles involved. Superior Court Judge David Fenster wondered aloud if he had the authority to do that. Media organizations covering the arraignment protested, noting that the defendant was being arraigned as an adult.
The court proceeding was recessed until Wednesday morning.
Addison County State’s Attorney Eva Vekos made the case for holding Mohamed without bail.
This investigation involved members of the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division, Crime Scene Search Team and Victim Services Unit. Bristol police are providing assistance.
Anyone with information that could assist investigators in this case is asked to call the Vermont State Police in New Haven at 802-388-4919. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
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