There will be no criminal charges filed against four Vermont police officers who shot and killed the son of Rutland’s former mayor back in October, after he led them on a chase and opened fire on the officers first.
Footage from a police cruiser’s dashboard camera, obtained by NECN Tuesday, shows a chase through a popular shopping area’s parking lot in downtown Rutland on Oct. 8.
After getting stuck on railroad tracks, the driver gets out and can be seen shooting at officers, who return fire.
NECN chose not to broadcast or publish the moment 33-year-old Christopher Louras is struck by police bullets.
Louras was the son of Rutland’s former longtime mayor, also named Chris Louras.
The younger Louras, Vermont’s attorney general said, was in a mental health crisis when he shot seven times at officers, as well as at the entrance of the Rutland City Police Department.
After the brief chase, the officers drew their own guns, striking Louras nine times, with a fatal wound to the head, according to prosecutors who discussed their probe of the case during a news conference Tuesday in Rutland.
“We consider this matter now closed,” announced Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan, who added that he does not consider the way Louras died to be the way the totality of his life should be judged.
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Donovan and Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy both said they won’t charge the four officers who returned fire. Three are from Rutland City, one was from Rutland Town.
Donovan and Kennedy said the officers’ actions were legally justified under the state’s self-defense rules, which consider someone guiltless if they hurt or kill another person while trying to protect their own life or someone else’s.
Both prosecutors praised police for facing a threat with bravery before anyone else was hurt.
“For that, I am eternally grateful to these officers and thank them for their actions,” Kennedy said.
The former mayor’s late son is also suspected of killing his own cousin, Nicholas Louras, before that shootout with police. The cousin’s death is still under investigation in Addison County, Donovan said.
“This has been a tragic event for our community, and of course, personally for my family,” said Mayor Dave Allaire, Rutland’s current mayor, who is related by marriage to his predecessor at city hall and to both of the Louras cousins who died, Nick and Chris.
Mayor Allaire voiced his full support for the men and women of the Rutland Police Department, and thanked them for their work in a high-stress and highly dangerous situation to prevent further loss of life.
Separately, Chris Louras’ mother, Crystal King, told NECN and its affiliate, NBC 5 News, that she and Chris’ grandmother, Mary, loved the young man dearly and miss him every day.
“Life is fragile, and we need to hold our loved ones tight,” Allaire said at Tuesday’s news conference.
Allaire noted he is optimistic a focus on addressing substance use disorders and forming neighborhood partnerships in Rutland can help strengthen his community after the encounter many here say really rattled locals.
The city’s Project Vision program has been working on improving the quality of life and addressing drug concerns in Rutland for years now.
Drugs are believed to be a factor in the Louras cousins’ deaths, as Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, said in October. However, Donovan wouldn’t discuss that while the murder investigation is still underway in Addison County.