An officer-involved shooting has followed an extensive manhunt for Jeremy Potwin, the armed and dangerous suspect in an escalating series of crimes over the past several weeks. Mr. Potwin died following the shooting. No one else, including a hostage Mr. Potwin was holding at the time, was injured in the incident.
Potwin, 39, of Bethel, was wanted on two arrest warrants — violation of conditions of release, and escape from Probation & Parole — arising from his conviction in 2018 for leaving the scene of a 2017 motor vehicle crash with death resulting in South Royalton. Potwin was also wanted for questioning in connection with a vehicle pursuit with the Vermont State Police on Friday, May 3, and with an aggravated assault and kidnapping that occurred Thursday, May 9, in Braintree in which he is suspected of assaulting a male associate and discharging a firearm. No one was seriously injured.
Preliminary investigation indicates that on Saturday, May 11, members of the Vermont State Police learned Potwin was at a home on Gage Road in Tunbridge. The state police Tactical Services Unit and Crisis Negotiation Unit responded to the scene. Police learned that Potwin was in the home with a woman he knew.
The Crisis Negotiation Unit began a protracted attempt to encourage Potwin to surrender peacefully, although he fired multiple shots out of the home during the negotiation. After several hours, Potwin emerged from the home shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, carrying two handguns and holding the woman hostage. When he pointed a weapon in the direction of the state police’s Tactical Services Unit, he was engaged by two troopers who fired their patrol rifles, and Potwin was struck.
Police immediately provided first aid to Potwin, but he was pronounced dead at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. The hostage is being evaluated at the hospital for precautionary reasons. No members of the state police were injured during the encounter.
The investigation into this incident is in its earliest stages and currently involves the state police’s Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Search Team. State police was assisted by the FBI during the search, which had been ongoing throughout the week.
The names of the troopers are being withheld per standard Vermont State Police policy as the investigation remains in its early stages. Per policy, the troopers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of five days, after which the troopers will return to administrative duty while the investigation is under review by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Orange County State’s Attorney’s Office.
No further updates are available at this time. More information will be released as the investigation proceeds.