Leicester man arrested, charged in shooting of neighbor, two Vt. troopers - Updated 8:37 p.m.
Rob Mitchell / Staff Photo
State Police vehicles line Lake Dunmore Road near the scene of two shootings in Leicester Sunday.
A Leicester man who allegedly shot two Vermont State Police troopers in the head early Sunday morning has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder.
Timothy Foley, 47, is also charged with two counts of attempted murder in a separate shooting earlier Sunday morning, which happened across the road from his home and left a man in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, state police said.
Foley, who was jailed in Rutland on Sunday for lack of $100,000 bail, is expected to be arraigned today.
The series of events began well before dawn near tiny Fern Lake.
State police from the New Haven barracks responded to a 911 call from 1496 Lake Dunmore Road in Leicester shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday.
The caller, a woman, said someone had entered her home and shot her husband in the head while they were both in bed, according to police.
According to police the Brandon Rescue squad took the woman's husband to Porter Hospital in Middlebury, from where he was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. He was listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon, police said, and had been treated for a gunshot wound to the head. His name was withheld.
The police investigation led troopers across the street to the home of Foley, who would not come out of his residence, police said.
One trooper was able to speak to Foley on the phone from the home of a neighbor, while other troopers set up a perimeter outside his house, but Foley stayed put.
Flanked by members of the state police patrol division and criminal investigation team at a press conference in New Haven, State Police Col. Thomas L'Esperance described what happened next.
Two of the troopers were “behind the trees in the position of cover” in Foley's yard when he allegedly shot at them from his home with a shotgun and hit one of them in the face with shotgun pellets, L'Esperance said. The other trooper returned fire with an AR-15 patrol rifle, covering the first trooper's move to safety. The second trooper was then also shot in the head with a shotgun, L'Esperance said.
Both troopers were taken by other troopers to Porter Hospital. One was treated and released, while the other was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care and was “in good shape, he just has to have some pellets removed from his head,” L'Esperance said. Their names are being withheld until today.
“In one respect, we're elated that the troopers are fine,” L'Esperance said. “We are very fortunate that this press conference doesn't have a more somber feeling to it.”
But L'Esperance said the incident goes to show the danger police face in the course of their jobs.
After the exchange of gunfire, a negotiator from the state police Hostage Negotiation Team in the Rutland barracks was able to get Foley back on the phone and convince him to leave his home by about 6 a.m.
“It speaks to the training, the experience, of those troopers that were left at the scene after two fellow troopers were transported,” said L'Esperance. “They took the emotion out of it, and did the right thing. And took him into custody without incident.”
The colonel said Sunday there was no clear motive for the shootings, however, they did not appear drug related. Foley was questioned at the New Haven state police barracks Sunday afternoon and a search warrant for his home was obtained. He does not have any serious crimes on his record, L'Esperance said, dating back a couple of decades. Detectives from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation were investigating at the scene Sunday, and the Crime Scene Search Team was still processing the shooting scenes Sunday afternoon. Patrol cars were stationed to the north and south of the crime scenes, turning drivers away.
The homes are on a rural stretch of paved road that runs along the east shore of Fern Lake, just south of Lake Dunmore and Branbury State Park, among year-round residences and summer cottages. Leicester is a town of about 975 in Addison County. The area where the shootings occurred is known locally as “Satans Kingdom,” a moniker likely applied by an early resident who was expecting “fertile, rolling acres and had received rocks and hills instead,” according to the book Vermont Place Names by Esther Swift.
Leicester Select Board chairwoman Diane Benware confirmed that according to Leicester town records, Joyce and Mahlon McCoy live at 1496 Lake Dunmore Road. She did not know Foley, she said, and said the McCoys mostly kept to themselves.
Benware said she could not remember another incident like this in Leicester in the recent past.
According to the minutes from a Leicester Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting in 2012, Mahlon McCoy is “severely handicapped” and uses a wheelchair.
A resident of Lake Dunmore Road near the shooting scene, who declined to be identified, reported hearing eight or nine shots in close succession just before dawn.