Reports Of Gunfire Trigger Big Police Response In Derby Line

In this file photo from October 2019, law enforcement officers shut down Caswell Avenue in Derby Line. Police responded to the area on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, for what they initially described as a "situation" requiring the public to stay away from the area. (File photo by Robin Smith)

DERBY LINE — Vermont State Police arrested a local man on Monday after responding to reports of gunfire at an apartment building near the intersection of Caswell Avenue and Ducharme Drive.

Alfred Charest, 38, was taken into custody, after police determined the gunshots came from his apartment, according to a report from VSP.

State police noted that reports of gunfire started coming about 9:45 a.m. Joined by the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement and Safety Division, the Newport Police Department, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Border Patrol, state police responded to the apartment building. Law enforcement had been told that some reports suggested there were multiple shooters and multiple victims.

“Ambulances from several local agencies staged nearby,” noted the VSP.

Access to the area was restricted as police arrived in force to determine the exact emergency and any public safety risk.

Police made a decision to quickly enter the building after a VSP Crisis Negotiation Unit failed to make contact with anyone inside. Authorities evacuated apartments in the building and at a nearby building. No victims were found.

Charest was located outside the building. “Police found evidence consistent with gunfire coming from his residence and penetrating other apartments and several vehicles,” noted the VSP report. Charest was arrested without incident. There was no indication that anyone else had fired a gun at the scene.

The state police are working with the Orleans County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine how to charge Charest.

It was not the first time in recent memory that a massive police response was made to Casewell Avenue. It was closed by police due to a public safety threat on Oct. 31, 2019. In that instance, a man called the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and reported he had just shot a family member from a residence on Caswell Avenue.

Dozens of law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies converged on Derby Line just after 1 p.m., closing off Caswell Avenue between Interstate 91 where the local U.S. Port of Entry is located and Main Street initially as part of a manhunt and then to investigate what appeared to be a hoax.

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