CONTACT: Domenica Padula, Chief, Criminal Division, 802-828-3171
Attorney General Donovan announced today that his office has reviewed the officer involved shooting incident that occurred on October 8, 2019, in Rutland, Vermont. The Attorney General’s Office is declining to prosecute Rutland City Police Department Sergeant Kenneth Mosher, Sergeant Adam Lucia, and Corporal Elias Anderson, and Rutland Town Police Deputy Chief Ted Washburn for charges related to the fatal shooting of Christopher G. Louras. Based on the facts and circumstances, and consistent with Vermont law, the Attorney General’s Office has concluded that the actions of the officers were justified. In reaching this decision, the Office reviewed all the materials provided by the Vermont State Police, who conducted the investigation.
On October 8, 2019, at approximately 5:38 AM a man later determined to be Christopher G. Louras, 33, fired two rounds through the front door of the Rutland City Police Department (RCPD) while driving a white 2014 Ford Focus. Following the shots at RCPD, dispatch relayed a message to all units to be on the lookout for the Ford Focus. At approximately 7:06 AM, off-duty RPCD Officer Christopher Rose identified the Ford Focus near the corner of Washington and Wales Streets and informed dispatch who conveyed that information to all units over the radio. Shortly thereafter an unmarked RCPD Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by RCPD Corporal Elias Anderson and Sergeant Adam Lucia responded and began to follow the Ford Focus which was being driven and solely occupied by Mr. Louras. The pursuit was also joined by RCPD Sergeant Kenneth Mosher and Rutland Town Police Department Deputy Chief Ted Washburn who both activated their lights and sirens.
Mr. Louras did not stop and continued to drive evasively into the Rutland Plaza. Sergeant Mosher continued to follow Mr. Louras as he drove toward the Price Chopper then changed course and drove through the parking lot toward the Walmart. Sergeant Mosher observed Mr. Louras point a gun – a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle or “AR-15” – out of his window. Sergeant Mosher followed Mr. Louras past the Walmart, left into Depot Park, towards the Amtrak train station. While the pursuit ensued, Sergeant Mosher reported Mr. Louras’ moment-by-moment actions to fellow officers over his radio.
During this pursuit, other officers also attempted to stop Mr. Louras, near the Price Chopper exit by positioning an unmarked cruiser across the roadway. Mr. Louras did not stop. Sergeant Mosher twice rammed the back of the Ford Focus with his cruiser in an effort to stop Mr. Louras. As the pursuit continued, Mr. Louras fired shots from the Ford Focus before coming to a stop at the train tracks near the Amtrak station. Mr. Louras got out of his car and fired further shots in the direction of Sergeant Mosher who was joined by Rutland Town Deputy Chief Washburn, and RCPD Corporal Anderson and Sergeant Lucia.
Sergeant Mosher, Deputy Chief Washburn, Corporal Anderson, and Sergeant Lucia all returned fire while taking cover from their vehicles. Mr. Louras fell to the ground, dropping his AR-15. He then stood up and was on the move again. Mr. Louras then, according to an eyewitness, picked up and raised his rifle. Concerned for their safety and the safety of others, the officers again fired at Mr. Louras bringing him to the ground.
Mr. Louras was transported to the Rutland Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Mr. Louras sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the arms, legs, abdomen, shoulder, back and left side of the head.
In total, Mr. Louras fired two shots at the RCPD building, two shots at law enforcement in the cement barrier area during the pursuit, and three shots upon exiting his vehicle near the train tracks. Mr. Louras’ rifle was found with a total of fifteen cartridges remaining in a thirty-cartridge capacity magazine. Within Mr. Louras’ vehicle, investigators recovered two thirty-cartridge capacity magazines on the front passenger’s seat. Each magazine was loaded with twenty-five cartridges.
Under Vermont law, a person who kills or wounds another “in the just and necessary defense of his own life…shall be guiltless.” 13 V.S.A. § 2305(1). In Vermont, self-defense is justified when (1) the defendant was not the initial aggressor; (2) the defendant was justified in using a reasonable amount of force against another; and (3) he reasonably believed (a) that he was in immediate danger of unlawful bodily harm from his adversary and (b) that the use of such force was necessary to avoid this danger.
In this case, Sergeant Mosher, Deputy Chief Washburn, Sergeant Lucia, and Corporal Anderson reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm at the hands of Mr. Louras, whom they knew to be armed.
Under these facts and circumstances, and consistent with Vermont law the actions of the officers were justified. The Attorney General’s Office is declining to file charges against Sergeant Mosher, Deputy Chief Washburn, Sergeant Lucia, and Corporal Anderson.
The Office of the State’s Attorney for Rutland County also conducted an independent review. State’s Attorney Rosemary Kennedy announced today that her office was also declining to prosecute the officers involved.
Any requests for video and audio records related to this investigation should be directed to the Vermont State Police.
Last modified: February 18, 2020