Confrontation At Hardwick Store Leads To Death By Gunshot

A confrontation between a Greensboro man and an intoxicated Hardwick man that ended with the death of the Hardwick man began in the Hardwick Kwik Stop & Deli Wednesday night. (Contributed Photo)

A Greensboro man who intervened in a dispute between an intoxicated man and a Hardwick store clerk on Wednesday shot and killed the intoxicated man later that evening, according to Vermont State Police.

Robert Chaplin, 27, of East Hardwick, died after being shot outside the Eligo Lake Road home of Daryl Johnson, 48, on Wednesday night about an hour and 20 minutes after Johnson reportedly first encountered Chaplin in the Hardwick Kwik Stop & Deli.

A report from state police notes that Chaplin was at the store on Route 15 in Hardwick a few minutes before 7 p.m. The clerk working that night called Hardwick Police on Chaplin who was reportedly so intoxicated that the clerk refused to sell him alcohol. The clerk’s refusal to supply Chaplin with more alcohol led to Chaplin confronting the clerk, and that’s when Johnson stepped in, reported the VSP.

State police did not report what took place between Chaplin and Johnson in the store, and Chaplin left the store before police arrived.

He later arrived at Johnson’s home to confront him. There, police reported, “an altercation ensued outside the residence between the two men during which Johnson fired a handgun, striking Chaplin.”

Chaplin was taken to Copley Hospital in Morrisville by Hardwick Rescue. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

An autopsy performed on Thursday at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington determined that the cause of Chaplin’s death was a gunshot wound to the arm and chest, and the manner of death was a homicide.

State police continue to investigate the incident, and no charges have been filed in the case. The Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team was expected to finish their investigation at Johnson’s property on Friday.

The investigation has involved members of the Major Crime Unit and Victim Services Unit. In addition, VSP worked with the Hardwick Police Department, Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and Orleans County State’s Attorney’s Office. It was the sheriff’s department that began the investigation before reaching out to state police on Thursday afternoon.

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