05/02/2012

'I wanted to die': Vt. police describe fatal shooting

A burglary suspect ignored orders to surrender

By PoliceOne Staff

WILLISTON, Vt. — A burglary suspect was shot and killed after ignoring a trooper's order to surrender and aiming at the trooper with what was later found to be a cell phone.

Vermont State Police said Jonathan Martel, 40, told the trooper who shot him that he "wanted to die."

Senior Trooper Dustin Robinson, 31, fired seven rounds and was the only person who witnessed the shooting in the Cambridge woods, according to the Associated Press. Martel is believed to have been hit by one bullet, but autopsy results have not yet been released.

Lamoille County sheriff's deputies and police began pursuing Martel's car Monday afternoon after receiving reports it was involved in a burglary in Johnson. The vehicle chase ended at a back road, where Martel got out and fled through the trees.

"Trooper Robinson ordered Martel repeatedly to stop and show his hands. Martel had his back to Trooper Robinson and was fidgeting with his waistband. Martel then quickly turned around in a shooter's type stance, pointing a metallic object in Trooper Robinson's direction," State police Col. Thomas L'Esperance said.

It turned out that Martel was unarmed, but L'Esperance said Martel made the decisions that led to his death.

As Robinson rendered aid, he noticed Martel's cell phone and asked why he pointed it at him. Martel responded, "I wanted to die."

State police conducting an initial investigation of the incident before turning the case over to the state attorney's office.
 

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