Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen said Wednesday that members of the police department and the community came together in response to the shots fired at the Wales Street police station on Tuesday morning.
“We stress the importance of officer safety all the time. Typically when we talk about officer safety, it’s in the context of responding to calls for service, kind of outside the station. While the building is secure, this is certainly nothing that we would expect. It’s something that’s a little unsettling, I should say,” he said.
The police station is used as working space for the trained officers of the city police department, but Kilcullen pointed out the department also has many civilian employees who “really are the front lines for anyone coming through the station.” He said they were the most affected by the shots being fired at the station.
The people directly affected will be required to seek counseling, which will be provided by the department, Kilcullen said.
According to Kilcullen, there was a dispatcher and a couple of police officers in the building at the time.
“As I said, it’s a little unsettling because I think the department and the building, to some extent, represents the safety and security of the entire city and for this to happen at a location like this, as I said, was a little unsettling,” he said.
The police station remained open Tuesday but Kilcullen said the front entrance was closed for part of the day while the broken glass was removed. Arrangements were made to escort people through the back for those who needed police services.
Mayor David Allaire said he believed the incident showed “the resiliency of this department,” whose members didn’t know if other violence would follow the first shots.
“By all accounts, the men and women over here conducted themselves in a way that should make the community be proud. That’s certainly the way I view it,” he said.
Kilcullen said the shots broke the glass of an exterior door and an interior wall. He said he didn’t expect it would mean any increase for the police budget to make repairs.
Around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, a person fired two shots at the Rutland City Police Station. During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Vermont State Police Criminal Division Cmdr. Daniel Trudeau said police believed the shooter was Christopher G. Louras, 33, of Rutland.
Surveillance equipment allowed police to identify the car. Police spotted the car about 90 minutes later near the Amtrak station and pursued the car, resulting in a shootout that left Louras, whom police said was armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle, dead. No one else was injured at that time.
However, police also found a body in Salisbury, identified Thursday as Christopher G. Louras’ cousin, Nicholas Louras, 34, of Rutland.
Police said on Thursday they were still investigating the incident and trying to determine the motive for Christopher Louras’ action.
Christopher G. Louras is the son of former Rutland mayor Christopher C. Louras. Nicholas Louras is the nephew of Allaire.
Kilcullen acknowledged the challenge of continuing to provide service to the community after an incident that could have had even more serious consequences than a damaged building.
However, he said the Rutland community was very supportive of the department. Internally, Kilcullen said, officers who weren’t even on duty were coming in early or during their off-hours to support those most directly affected.
Cmdr. David LaChance said Friday the incident was like “somebody attacked your home.”
“This is home for a lot of people. It’s home for us. We treat this like a home. We’re like a close-knit family,” he said.
As a police officer, LaChance said an incident like the one Tuesday causes “heightened concern.” If someone is willing to shoot at a police station, there are concerns about what they might do that could hurt the civilian population, he said.
LaChance said police were concerned that something else was going to follow the first two shots.
He said he hoped Rutland residents would understand that the possibility of an attack like the one on Tuesday was why the police station had so many security features.
A critical incident debriefing will be scheduled in the coming week for officers and staff to review what happened and look for ways to make the building safer.