Montpelier Police: Suspect Dead After Armed Robbery

Jan 16, 2018

A robbery suspect killed by police Tuesday has been identified as 32 year-old Nathan Giffin of  Essex.

Giffin was killed in a standoff with police outside Montpelier High School.

Update 1/17/2017 In a release, Vermont State Police said the handgun Giffin had was a BB gun. The Washington County State's Attorney and Attorney General will review the shooting to determine if the use of deadly force was justified. The release also named the eight state troopers and Montpelier Police officer involved in the shooting.

The robbery took place at a credit union across the street from the school on Tuesday morning. 


In a news release late Tuesday, Vermont State Police said Giffin was brandishing a handgun and, during a 50 minute period, police attempted to negotiate with him. According to statement, Giffin, "made threatening statements toward law enforcement and included suicidal statements."

Authorities say Giffin ignored orders to surrender the handgun and was shot. The statement says eight Vermont State Police troopers and one Montpelier police officer discharged their weapons.

The names of the officers have not been released. The statement says all have been placed on administrative leave while the Washington County State's Attorney conducts an investigation.

The state police statement says Giffin was convicted in 2012 in connection with a Williamstown bank robbery and had an extensive criminal record that included burglary, larceny, drug possession.

“This is the first time VSECU has experienced a robbery in any of our branches,” said Rachel Feldman, the public relations specialist for VSECU.

“We immediately implemented all of our safety protocol which includes locking all the doors, of course calling 911, holding everyone here ... and immediately after ascertaining the safety of all our employees all the people on the premises, the number one job of the staff is to write down what they saw, what they heard ... what happened,” she said.

Montpelier Police Chief Tony Facos said police responded to the robbery and confronted the suspect the near the football fields at Montpelier High School.

“At that point the school was notified. The school was put into a lockdown lock out mode,” he said. “No one was allowed in or out,” said Brian Ricca, superintendent of the Montpelier Public Schools.

“Since the suspect was contained entirely outside the building the safest place for our students faculty and staff was inside the building.”

A bank robbery suspect waves his arm in communication to the police at Montpelier High School on Tuesday.
Credit Josh Kuckens / Times Argus

There was a robust law enforcement response at Montpelier High School on Tuesday as a bank robbery suspect fled to the soccer fields on campus.
Credit Josh Kuckens / Times Argus

Ricca said once the incident was over, they were going to try to have a 'reasonably normal remainder' of the day.

Facos says the Montpelier Police also requested assistance from the Vermont State Police. Colonel Matthew Birmingham of the VSP said they did respond to the scene and are now in investigating.

“Our major crime unit and our crime scene search team have been activated and we are treating this as an officer involved shooting and we'll investigate it as such,” he said. 


Feldman, of VSECU, said people were shaken by the robbery, but the company has a support system in place.

“We're checking in with everybody...we feel confident that everyone will be okay,” she said. Feldman says the Montpelier branch of VSEC-U was closed on Tuesday, but they plan to be open again on Wednesday.

Update 5:02 p.m. This story has been updated to include further reporting.

Correction 12:58 p.m. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Chief Tony Facos' first name as 'Jeff.' It has been corrected.

Correction 1/22/2018 An earlier version mispelled 'Nathan Giffin.' The spelling has been corrected.

This post was updated at 6:50 a.m. Wed. 1/17 to include additional information provided by Vermont State Police.
 

VPR’s Steve Zind and Bob Kinzel contributed to this report.