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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont State Troopers will not be Prosecuted for Fatal Shooting in Tunbridge

September 10, 2019

CONTACT: Paul A. Barkus, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced today that his office has reviewed the officer-involved-shooting incident that occurred on May 11, 2019, in Tunbridge, Vermont. The Attorney General’s Office is declining to prosecute Vermont State Police Troopers Neil Carey and Matthew Tarricone for charges related to the fatal shooting of Jeremy Potwin. In reaching this decision, the Office reviewed all the materials provided by the Vermont State Police, who conducted the investigation.

On May 11, 2019, the Vermont State Police located Jeremy Potwin at a home in Tunbridge, Vermont to serve an arrest warrant for an alleged violation of probation. Mr. Potwin, despite repeated requests by the Vermont State Police to exit the home, refused to be taken into custody and fired several shots out of the house in the direction of members of the Vermont State Police Tactical Services Unit.

After a standoff lasting several hours, Mr. Potwin unexpectedly exited the home holding his pregnant girlfriend, Calen Vaine, closely in front of him with a semi-automatic handgun pointed at her head.  In his other hand, Mr. Potwin held a large caliber revolver which was pointed directly at members of the Tactical Services Unit. Repeated demands were made for Mr. Potwin to drop his weapons, but he refused to comply and continued to advance toward troopers. Trooper Carey in fear for his life and the lives of others fired a single shot at Mr. Potwin but missed.  At that point Trooper Tarricone, in fear for his life and the lives of others, fired a single round to Mr. Potwin’s right shoulder blade area. Mr. Potwin immediately fell to the ground and was transported to Gifford Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Ms. Vaine was unharmed.

Based on the totality of the circumstances, it was reasonable for Troopers Carey and Tarricone to think that they, Ms. Vaine, and other members of law enforcement were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed by Mr. Potwin.  Accordingly, Troopers Carey and Tarricone’s decision to use deadly force to stop the threat was reasonable and justified.

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Orange County also conducted an independent review and has declined to file criminal charges against Troopers Carey and Tarricone.

Last modified: September 10, 2019