EXCLUSIVE: Winooski Home Invasion Victims Speak

We have exclusive details on what triggered the Winooski school lock-down.
WINOOSKI, Vt. - Police say the gunman, at one point thought to be inside the Winooski schools, hasn't been caught. They say the terrifying night started with a home invasion, and ended with dozens of students on lock-down. A report called into police about a gunman on campus had parents and law enforcement on edge. Fortunately no one was injured. We spoke with the man who says he was face to face with a gunman.

"I was actually sorting out laundry in my mudroom," Roger Chamberlain said, who was the victim of the home invasion. Roger Chamberlain said two men barged into his Winooski home on Weaver Street, through the garage late Thursday afternoon.

"They pointed the gun at my daughter, my wife, they were going to shoot my dog and they hit me with a crowbar," Roger Chamberlain said.

"All I thought was they shot my husband," Lynne Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain and his wife Lynn says two men who they've never seen before were demanding money.

"They said its drug related which is not true," Chamberlain said. Police Chief Steve McQueen said Friday he does suspect the raid was drug related, and that the men knew each other.

"We’re confident we will figure out who this was," Chief McQueen said.

After the intruders left empty handed, police say they ran in different directions, one man toward the Winooski schools. A police dog followed the suspect's scent to the school, but now police and the superintendent feel confident that the gunman was never inside, but may have been on the side of the building. That coupled with a 911 call from someone claiming to have spotted a man with a gun put 45 students and 20 staff members on lock-down.

"They do a sweep of every single room, every closet, every corner, just to make sure, " the Chief said. The Chief says officers train constantly, but had never had to put it to the test until Thursday night. Fortunately, no one was injured.

"So relieved, so relieved." Nicole Cabral said, who has a niece and nephew at the school.

"The kids are normal, everything is normal," Abdi Karin, a Winooski father said.

But for the family who was face to face with the gunman, it was different.

"I just put myself in front of him and said, please leave him alone!”

They hope the whole situation ends with an arrest. We haven't been given a description of the suspects, because police say they are working their leads first. Surveillance video from the school could be released Monday.

While everyone is safe, some parents say it took them too long to find out what was going on. The school went on lock-down around 5:00, but a recorded voicemail from the superintendent didn't go out until 9:30. While he says he wished it could have happened sooner, he points out students, staff, and police worked well together, because the school does lock-down drills once a month. The superintendent even said attendance was high today.

"The tremendous response by law enforcement from across the county was both impressive and demonstrated our broad sense of community. Our Winooski school staff and students followed our emergency procedures perfectly and I can confidently report that our school is safe," Superintendent Sean McMannon said.
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