Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit detectives continue to investigate the officer involved shooting that occurred on Interstate 89 southbound in the town of Bolton. Benjamin Gregware, age 42 of Sheldon, VT was shot and killed by police following a traffic stop. The officers involved in this shooting are identified as Trooper Chris Brown and Richmond Police Corporal Richard Greenough. The entire traffic stop to include the shooting was captured on video from both officer’s cruiser cameras and also captured on the body camera worn by Corporal Greenough.
Preliminary investigation has revealed the following events leading up to the shooting:
1) On 02/11/2018 at approximately 1500 hours Trooper Jay Riggen spoke by telephone with Melissa Gregware, 37, of Sheldon, Vermont. Melissa advised that she had concerns about her ex-husband Benjamin Gregware, 42, also of Sheldon.
2) Melissa advised that on Ben has been struggling with alcohol addiction. She advised that Ben had scheduled visitation with their children today but that she believed he had been drinking because he was slurring his words. She also advised that he was not acting normal and that his speech and behavior appeared different from what she had been accustomed to when he was intoxicated.
3) Melissa described that the children were safe with her, but that Ben had driven away from his residence in a red Honda. Melissa advised she knew the vehicle was not registered to him but did not know who the owner of the vehicle was.
4) Melissa stated that after Ben left he later called her and told her that he had just left Walmart in St. Albans and that he had purchased ammunition. Melissa advised that Ben did own guns, but she did not know what kind.
5) She stated that he never came out and said he was going to commit suicide, but that he was going to ‘take care of some stuff”. Ben told her that he was driving southbound on Interstate 89 and had passed Exit 17. Melissa said that Ben was recently laid-off from work and she was concerned that with all of these factors that he may try to harm himself.
7) A BOL was issued for Ben Gregware and the red Honda Accord to check his welfare.
8) Trooper Riggen obtained Gregware’s cell phone number and called him. Trooper Riggen told Gregware that Melissa called VSP and was concerned about him. Gregware told Trooper Riggen that he was “not OK.” He stated that he was an alcoholic and he felt that he was losing his children. Trooper Riggen noted that Gregware’s speech was very slurred, mumbled, confused, and at times unintelligible.
9) Gregware told Trooper Riggen that he had a 9mm handgun with him and that he had just bought ammunition at Walmart.
10) Trooper Riggen asked Gregware where he was, so a Trooper could meet and try to help him. Gregware indicated that he was on Interstate 89 in the area of exits 13 and 14.
11) Trooper Riggen continued to remain on the phone with Gregware and he spoke about his alcoholism, divorce and his children. He sounded despondent, emotional and was crying.
12) VSP-Williston Dispatch was advised that Gregware was possibly suicidal and armed.
13) Gregware told Trooper Riggen that he was going to continue driving south on the Interstate and that when he ran out of gas he was going to “end it.” Trooper Riggen remained on the phone and tried to engage Gregware in further dialog, he talked about his children for a while, but then spoke of his plan to keep driving south on the Interstate until he ran out of gas at which time he would shoot himself. Trooper Riggen continued to attempt to persuade Gregware to pull off the interstate so Troopers could meet with him and get him some help for his problems. Gregware declined and indicated he was going to keep driving.
14) During the entire phone call with Gregware, Trooper Riggen was relaying the information to his supervisor and this was forwarded to Troopers on the interstate.
15) Gregware advised that he had passed exit 11 and stated something to the effect of: “You can bring all of the guns you want…”. Gregware then said he was going to disconnect the call and stop wasting people’s time. The call then disconnected. The entire call lasted approximately 20 minutes.
16) Tpr. Chris Brown and Richmond Police Officer Richard Greenough were traveling south on Interstate 89 from the Williston area attempting to locate Gregware’s vehicle. At approximately 3:50 pm they caught up to the vehicle, a Red Honda Accord, and Tpr. Brown initiated a traffic stop. The operator, later identified as Gregware pulled over in the breakdown lane and came to a stop.
17) Tpr. Brown and Officer Greenough initiated a high-risk motor vehicle stop based on the information that Gregware was likely armed. A high risk stop involves officers ordering an operator out of the vehicle as opposed to officers approaching the vehicle.
18) Once the vehicle came to a stop, Tpr. Brown exited his vehicle and was standing with his driver’s side door open. Corporal Greenough took a position on the passenger side of Tpr. Brown’s vehicle. Tpr. Brown immediately began yelling for the operator to exit the vehicle. Tpr. Brown can then be heard yelling “put the gun down” multiple times. Gregware is then seen opening his door and stepping out of his vehicle holding a handgun which he immediately points at his own head. Tpr. Brown and Corporal Greenough continue to yell at Gregware to put the gun down multiple times. As these events are unfolding, multiple vehicles can be seen traveling southbound in the passing lane of IS89. Gregware does not comply with verbal orders and starts walking toward the officers with the gun still pointed at his own head. Both Tpr. Brown and Corporal Greenough fired multiple rounds and Gregware is seen immediately going to the ground.
19) Both officers approached cautiously, checked the car for other occupants and then secured the firearm that Gregware was holding. Dispatch was notified and rescue was requested. Officers then began to render medical aid to Gregware until the arrival of rescue personnel.
20) Investigation revealed Tpr. Brown fired his patrol rifle, a Rock River Arms Model LAR14 .223 caliber and is believed to have fired a total of seven rounds. Corporal Greenough fired his department issued handgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P 40 caliber and is believed to have fired a total of 5 rounds. The firearm recovered at the scene that Gregware was holding was identified as a Masterpiece Arms, 9mm tactical pistol, more commonly known as a Mac 10, with an extended magazine. The magazine was found to have contained 14, 9mm rounds and there was one in the chamber. The full capacity of the magazine is believed to be 30 rounds. See attached photographs.
21) Trooper Brown has been a State Trooper since January of 2012 and is currently assigned to the Middlesex barracks. Corporal Greenough has been employed with the Richmond Police since August 2006.
22) This investigation is ongoing as detectives continue to conduct interviews and process evidence. The autopsy will likely be performed sometime this afternoon. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit at (802)878-7111
. Once complete the investigation will be submitted to the Chittenden County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General’s office for independent reviews as is customary for all officer involved shootings.
VSP Media Listserv [mailto:[email protected]
] On Behalf Of
Sunday, February 11, 2018 7:28 PM
To: [email protected]
[VSPMEDIA] VSP Press Release – Officer Involved Shooting – Bolton, VT
STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
VERMONT STATE POLICE
February 11, 2018
Major Glenn Hall – Criminal Division Commander
Press Release – Officer Involved Shooting – IS 89 Bolton, VT
On Sunday afternoon at approximately 3:51 pm a Vermont State Police Trooper and an officer with the Richmond Police Department shot a male subject following a traffic stop that occurred on Interstate 89 southbound near mile marker 69 in the town of Bolton. The subject was the sole occupant of the vehicle and he was subsequently transported to UVM Medical Center in Burlington where he later died. The Trooper and Richmond police officer were not injured.
The Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit and Crime Scene Search Team have been activated and are responding to the scene. This investigation is in its early stages therefore no other details are available at this time, to include the identity of the deceased or officers involved.
Interstate 89 southbound at the scene of this incident currently has one lane open to traffic. It is anticipated that one lane will remain closed for an extended period of time while investigators process the scene. Motorists are asked to use caution in this area due to adverse weather conditions.
Additional details will be released once available. At this time there is no press conference scheduled.
Major Glenn E. Hall
Criminal Division Commander
Vermont State Police
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671