Vermont State Police continue investigating a chaotic scene in Bristol Thursday night. It involved two patients suffering gunshot wounds, one from a trooper's bullet. Col. Tom L'Esperance, the commander of the Vermont State Police, identified the patients as 56-year-old Norman Michaud of Bristol and 42-year-old Tina LaBossiere of Crown Point, New York. The two were dating, L'Esperance said.
L'Esperance said his troopers responded to Pine Street in Bristol to assist local officers, who were there for an emergency call of a man threatening to kill himself. L'Esperance said law enforcement personnel who had arrived heard a gunshot before encountering LaBossiere. He said investigators believe that gunshot was Michaud attempting suicide. He suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head, L'Esperance said.
After hearing the gunshot, but before discovering Michaud, L'Esperance said LaBossiere came up the driveway brandishing a long-barreled revolver. She refused at least six orders to drop it, L'Esperance said. Believing he and other officers were in danger of bodily harm, trooper Michael Dion fired his assigned handgun at LaBossiere, striking her in the abdomen, L'Esperance said.
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"It was an intimidating weapon to say the least," L'Esperance said of the gun LaBossiere was wielding, adding its hammer was cocked. "I think that, based on the way that this rolled out, as quickly as it did, the officer's choice to use his weapon seems reasonable."
LaBossiere's son was standing with police while talking to his mom by cell phone, L'Esperance said, asking her to put the gun down. L'Esperance also told reporters Michaud had been drinking before the crisis escalated.
Vermont State Police did not release the medical conditions of Michaud or LaBossiere, but said they were transported to Fletcher Allen in Burlington for treatment of their wounds.
Ron Fleming of Bristol, who told New England Cable News he has known Michaud since their time in school together, said he was surprised at the scene that unfolded Thursday night. Fleming called Michaud an affable, talkative, happy guy. "I just wish he could've called me before he did something like this," Fleming said. "I'd be more than willing to help him out."
Dion was placed on paid administrative leave. L'Esperance said that is typical in a case like this.