Man at Vermont Occupy protest dies of self-inflicted gunshot


Man at Vermont protest dies of self-inflicted gunshot

Zach Howard

Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

Nov 11, 2011 02:56 EST

(Reuters) – (Reuters) – A Vermont man died on Thursday after apparently shooting himself in the head at an Occupy protest camp in downtown Burlington, and police later said they had banned camping at the site over safety concerns.

Emergency workers had rushed the man to a city hospital in grave condition after an afternoon shooting police said happened in or near a tent at the encampment. The man later died, said Mike Noble, a spokesman for Burlington’s Fletcher Allen hospital.

Burlington police said in a statement that the 35-year-old man had sustained a gunshot wound to the head. They said witness accounts indicated the gunshot was self-inflicted, but stopped short of directly labeling it a suicide.

“All investigative avenues will be explored,” the statement said. Police also said a weapon had been recovered, according to local media video footage.

Joe Reinert, a spokesman for Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss, said the man was from Chittenden County, which contains Burlington, but authorities were not yet releasing his name due to privacy concerns.

Occupy protesters have been camped at Burlington’s City Hall Park, where the shooting took place, since late October in demonstrations linked to the national Occupy Wall Street campaign against a financial system demonstrators believe mostly benefits corporations and the wealthy.

After the shooting, police said camping would be banned for now at City Hall Park due to public safety concerns.

Police were concerned they could not ensure safety for protesters or the public where tents “obstruct and obscure potentially dangerous activities” in routinely public areas of the park, a statement from Mayor Kiss’s office said.

Police cordoned off the southern part of the park as a crime scene and closed it to the public to investigate the incident, the mayor’s office said. The city will allow “peaceful assembly” only in areas where the park is not cordoned off, it added.

(Additional reporting by Lauren Keiper. Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

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