Police Shoot and Kill Robbery Suspect Behind Vermont High School

A robbery suspect was shot and killed by police Tuesday following a standoff outside a public school in Montpelier, Vermont, which had been placed in lockdown mode.

The suspect, who was later identified as 32-year-old Nathan Giffin, of Essex, was holding what appeared to be a handgun on the athletic complex behind Montpelier High School.

Earlier, Giffin allegedly held up the Vermont State Employees Credit Union across the street, then ran toward the school's football field.

That sparked what Brian Ricca, Montpelier's school superintendent, termed a "lockdown and lockout" - a security stance, to protect students, teachers and others inside.

"Since the suspect was contained entirely outside the building, the safest place for our students, faculty and staff was inside the building," Ricca noted.

After a standoff with officers, a hail of gunfire could be heard as police shot and killed Giffin.

"The suspect is deceased," Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos announced midday.

A preliminary investigation indicates that a total of nine officers discharged their firearms in the shooting, eight of whom were Vermont State Troopers and one Montpelier police officer. 

The names of those officers are not being released at this time, and all nine have been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with Vermont State Police policy.

No law enforcement officers were injured during this incident, according to Vermont State Police. 

Giffin's body was taken to chief medical examiner in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

Investigators from several area agencies remained at the school throughout the afternoon as the examination of the fatal officer-involved shooting got underway.

"A lot of people were really distressed about it," said Avery Hadick, a Montpelier High School freshman. "It was a threat right outside, and nobody had really experienced something like that before. The teachers did a good job trying to keep everyone calm."

"Everything was handled pretty good," said Nina Aziz, a Montpelier High School senior who arrived at the school during the lockdown, and had to return after it was over to get her homework assignments.

Aziz said she heard from classmates how the lockdown went, and said her friends felt well-supported during it.

"The teachers were really good about it," she said. "Instructions were given, and people followed them."

Ricca told necn that school will start at the normal time Wednesday. Extra mental health counselors will be on-hand, in case anyone wants to speak with them, the superintendent added.

No one inside the school was harmed during the lockdown, the district said. No staff members at the credit union were injured during the robbery, either, spokeswoman Rachel Feldman said.

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