Shortly before 10:00 am, Vermont State Police reported that a person was firing several gunshots in and outside his apartment on Caswell Avenue in Derby Line.
A heavy law enforcement response gathered outside the apartment building, involving local and state police and border patrol agents. Police arrested 38-year-old Alfred Charest after linking his apartment to the gunfire and a .22 caliber handgun.
Initially, it was believed that multiple shooters and victims were involved but police identified only one suspect and no victims. Police say several bullets penetrated neighboring apartments and hit multiple cars. No injuries were reported.
VSP says ten residents were evacuated and brought to the port of entry across the street and law enforcement made entry into remaining apartments. “For this to turn out the way it did, this is great for everybody involved,” said Captain Matthew Daley. “No civilians were hurt, few cars were shot up, and all of law enforcement walked away, and carried on with their day.”
Caswell Avenue was closed in the area, and Derby Elementary ordered a lockout, meaning no one was able to leave or enter the building. The lockout was lifted before noon. Afternoon pre-K is canceled at the school.
Derby Line Elementary School principal said instruction continued and kids could move freely throughout the school as it wasn’t an immediate threat to the building.
The chaos generated comments on social media with some residents shocked to find out a shooting happened so close to home.
Shena Deyo of Derby Line said, “I am a resident of Derby Line for about 10 years now, so this event definitely shook everybody.”
Charest is facing charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and reckless endangerment. While Charest has no prior criminal charges against him through VSP, he has an active extraditable warrant for an arrest in New Hampshire on drug-related charges and will face the charge in Vermont of being a fugitive from justice.
He has been ordered jailed without bail at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport and will be arraigned on Tuesday at 1:00 pm in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court, Newport.