(Host) Police are investigating a fatal shooting at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Burlington’s City Hall Park.
Deputy Chief Andi Higbee says a 35-year-old man was shot at the park early Thursday afternoon, and police are trying to determine whether the gunshot wound to his head was self-inflicted.
Higbee says the incident remains under investigation. But he says it raises serious concerns about the future of the Occupy movement in Burlington.
(Higbee) "Our responsibility is to keep the public safe and when you have a discharge of a firearm in a public place like this, it gives good cause to be concerned. Gravely concerned."
(Host) Police say they found the man wounded but alive inside his tent after a 911 call.
The man was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care. His death was confirmed about three hours after the shooting. The police found a weapon and cordoned off the southern section of the park with yellow tape. Protesters who were removed from their tents consoled each other.
Toryn Hill has been camping out in the park. He says he knew the victim only by his first name. Hill says the shooting is a clear indication of the forces that he says are driving the movement – forces of economic and health inequality that may drive people to desperation.
(Hill) "And we’re fighting to not have that happen for as many people as we can. I think the movement will grow. I think the movement in City Hall Park is very much in question at this time."
(Host) Few details about the victim were available Thursday evening, but some Occupy protesters say he was a veteran of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan.