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AG Clears Four Officers Involved In Fatal Rutland Shooting

A brick building with an American flag outside.
Nina Keck
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VPR
Four Rutland police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Christopher G. Louras will face no criminal charges according to the Vermont Attorney General.

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan has announced there will be no criminal charges filed against four Rutland officers who exchanged gunfire with and killed the son of the city’s former mayor.

Christopher Louras, 33, was shot and killed last October in Rutland’s busy downtown shopping plaza. The incident stunned local residents, and details concerning what happened and why have been slow in coming.

TJ Donovan stands at a podium with people behind him.
Credit Nina Keck / VPR
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VPR
Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announces that following an investigation by Vermont State Police, the four Rutland police officers involved in a fatal shooting will not be criminally charged.

Tuesday morning, Donovan and Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy announced they had cleared of wrongdoing Rutland Police Sergeant Adam Lucia, Sergeant Kenneth Mosher and Corporal Elias Anderson, along with Rutland Town Police Deputy Chief Ted Washburn.

“Based on the facts and circumstances and consistent with Vermont law, my office has concluded that the actions of the officers were justified, and there will be no criminal charges brought against any police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Christopher Louras,” Donovan said.

Donovan then laid out the results of the investigation, beginning with early morning reports on Oct. 8 of two rounds fired into the front door of the Rutland City Police Department.

More from VPR: VSP Investigating After Rutland Police Fatally Shoot Former Mayor's Son [Oct. 8, 2019]

Police now believe those shots were fired by Christopher G. Louras. Using surveillance video, police were able to identify the car and locate it just after seven that morning.

A chase ensued as two of the officers followed Louras into Rutland’s downtown shopping district. That’s where Donovan said Sgt. Mosher saw Louras point a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle, also known as an AR-15, out the car window.

Other officers joined the pursuit and activated their lights and sirens to get Louras to stop.

“Mr. Louras did not stop,” Donovan said. “As the pursuit continued, Mr. Louras fired two shots from the Ford Focus before coming to a stop at the train tracks near the Amtrak station. Mr. Louras got out of his car and fired further shots in the direction of Sgt. Mosher.”

Mosher and the other three officers returned fire while taking cover from their vehicles, Donovan said.

According to police reports, officers fired 38 rounds while Louras fired seven.

“Mr. Louras fell to the ground, dropping his AR-15,” Donovan said. “He then stood up and was on the move again, at which point he picked up and began to raise the rifle, according to witnesses. Concerned for their safety and the safety of others, the officers again fired at Mr. Louras, bringing him to the ground.”

More from VPR: Death Certificates Released For Man Killed In Rutland Shooting, His Cousin [Oct. 15, 2019]

No one else was injured, Donovan said.

State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy completed her own independent review of the incident and also found the officers acted lawfully.  She told reporters the entire event at the parking plaza lasted only one minute and 17 seconds.

“In that amount of time while being shot at, these officers assessed the situation, responded and prevented others from being injured or more lives lost,” Kennedy said. “For that, I am eternally grateful to these officers and thank them for their actions."

Kennedy and Donovan both know Mayor Christopher Louras well, and both said this has been an especially difficult case.

“We want to be as respectful as we can," Donovan said. "This is a tragedy for the entire community. But I think it was clear that Christopher G. Louras was in crisis. He was in mental crisis in the last couple weeks of his life."

The former mayor didn’t want to comment Tuesday. But Rutland Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said the older Louras had checked in on the police officers personally.

“Soon after it happened that Chris Louras had reached out, checking on the welfare of the officers involved,” Kilcullen said. “And he did that again today, knowing this story would resurface today, checked again this morning with me to make sure everyone was OK. So I think that speaks volumes for the character of Chris Louras and really the entire Louras family.”

No new information was provided on the shooting death of the younger Louras’ cousin, 34-year old Nicholas Louras. His body was found in Salisbury just hours after the Rutland shooting.

More from VPR: 4 officers Identified In Fatal Rutland Shooting, Body Found In Salisbury Has Been Identified [Oct. 9, 2019]

Nicholas Louras is the nephew of both former mayor Christopher Louras and Rutland’s current Mayor David Allaire, who look red-eyed as he told reporters the double homicide has been awful for the families.

“I want to unequivocally state my support for the officers involved in the shooting,” Allaire said. “Their heroism and bravery, which undoubtedly saved many, many lives on that awful October morning. I can also speak for my family, and we all feel the same.”

Police have said they believe the two homicides are connected, but they are still investigating the Salisbury death.

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