The Burlington, VT police force shot and killed a man nearby his parents’ home because was wielding a ... shovel. The 49-year-old man, Wayne Brunette, was unarmed aside from his shovel, yet the police squad responding to his mother Ruthine “Dolly” Brunette’s call still found it necessary to shoot and kill him.
According to VPR, Burlington police were responding to Dolly’s complaint that her son was “acting irrationally and destroying property at their Randy Lane home.” When the police arrived, they found the man holding the shovel, which he would not drop despite their repeated insistence. After an undisclosed amount of time, the police shot him, and he died after being taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care.
Bruce Bovat, a spokesman for the Burlington Police Department had a relatively simple explanation for the significant events that unfolded outside the Brunette home. “[The police] were confronted by a man wielding a shovel, and the man was not listening to the demands and requests of the officers,” Bovat said.
Despite the tragic events, the Burlington Police Department has a relatively strong record of refraining from using firearms against individuals. According to an official release from the police department, law enforcement officials have not opened fire on someone since 1997.
The release also claims that, “as a matter of practice, the two officers involved are on administrative leave for the foreseeable future.” The release also confirms that “the officers were not injured in the incident.”