ROCKINGHAM, VT––During the manhunt overnight in the Bellows Falls area for an individual accused of several aggravated assaults, the Vermont State Police encountered the suspect, John-Victor Wetherby, at 22 Cota Heights Road in Rockingham. According to law enforcement, the “preliminary investigation indicates the suspect was armed. During the ensuing confrontation, a member of the state police fired his weapon at Wetherby, who was struck and injured.”
Wetherby, 33, of Bellows Falls, was transported to Springfield Hospital, where he was treated for a single graze-type wound and then released into the custody of law enforcement. No state troopers, members of the Bellows Falls Police Department, who also were on the scene at the time of the 12:30 a.m. incident, or other individuals were harmed during the encounter.
An investigation into the officer-involved shooting is in its earliest stages by the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigations, said authorities. Per policy, the trooper involved has been placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of five days, and then the member will return to work on administrative duty status. The trooper’s name is being withheld at this time, as is standard practice. The state police investigation will be independently reviewed by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine whether the use of force was appropriate. The exact number of shots fired and additional details regarding the confrontation remain under investigation. Charges against Wetherby related to the encounter with police are expected pending further investigation and consultation with the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Wetherby is suspected of an aggravated assault that occurred at 12:59 p.m. Friday, March 8, on Hyde Street in Bellows Falls. He also had a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and violation of probation from the Windham County Sheriff’s Department.