Angry neighbor shoots at snowplow in his driveway
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Rochester, Vermont man who admitted firing a shot into the front tire of a snowplow truck that was plowing his driveway was brought into court Wednesday to face a slate of charges.
Dante Brown, 24, a chef at a local inn, pleaded innocent to four felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two accompanying misdemeanor counts - reckless endangerment and unlawful mischief.
Brown, who has no prior criminal record, faces a maximum potential penalty of over 40 years in jail if he were to be convicted of all the charges now pending against him.
Ricky Gaudette told state police that he and his son Ricky Gaudette Jr. were in their plow truck plowing out their next door neighbor’s driveway at the behest of the landlord who owns the property when Brown emerged from the house and pointed a handgun at them, according to an affidavit filed with the court.
The Gaudettes wrote out sworn statements saying that Brown “started swearing and threatening” them to “get off his land or else,” allegedly saying that if they didn’t he would “make your truck never run again.”
The elder Gaudette wrote that Brown initially pointed a 9mm handgun right at him but then lowered it and fired into the front wheel of his truck, leaving a half-inch diameter hole in the tire rim.
Vermont State Police Corporal Mark Harvey said that when troopers arrived at the residence they were met by Brown who turned the gun over to them and explained that when the incident began he’d been asleep but then he was awoken by a loud bang that shook his house.
Brown said he walked outside and found the Gaudettes had plowed a large amount of snow up onto the front porch of Brown’s residence which Brown then shoveled out by hand, Corporal Harvey wrote in his report.
The Gaudettes drove “straight at Laura, my neighbor, who stepped out of the way just in time,” Brown wrote in his own sworn statement, adding that they were “plowing the snow yet even harder into the porch I was standing on. With seeing that they almost hit Laura and feeling the house shudder beneath my feet I decided to say something."
Brown continued that a moment later, “gun in hand, pointed at the cab, I came off the porch” and fired a shot that hit “the right portion of the tire.”
During Wednesday afternoon’s arraignment, a prosecutor asked Judge Theresa DiMauro to hold Brown without bail due to the violent nature of the alleged incident; however, the judge noted that Brown had already turned over all his guns to authorities and had no prior record.
Judge DiMauro agreed to release Brown on a series of pre-trial conditions, including a court order that he “must remain inside his residence anytime someone is plowing outside and he must not have any contact with those that are plowing” while his case is pending.
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