Burlington schools canceled after stray bullet hits school

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Burlington police are searching for the suspect or suspects after teachers from Edmunds Elementary School discovered a bullet hole in a classroom window Friday morning.

A release from the district stated both Edmunds Middle School and Edmunds Elementary School were closed “out of an abundance of caution.”

BPD say no evidence suggests the event was targeted at the school. They confirmed a round, from a pistol, traveled more than 700 feet.  It’s believed the incident happened overnight when the building was empty. 

“Our preliminary investigation shows that a round from a firearm was fired somewhere in the area of South Winooski and Main Street, traveled up the hill, struck the window and entered the classroom,” said BPD’s Acting Deputy Chief Wade Labrecque.

District leaders gave staff and students the day off to prioritize their safety.

“There were a couple of teachers who showed up early to get ready for the morning and discovered it,” said Burlington Superintendent Tom Flanagan. “So they let us know right away. We made a decision probably within the first three or four minutes that we would need to close the school today just to complete the investigation and make some decisions about our next steps.”

One mother says she was notified just minutes before the bell rang.

“I was trying to get a child on the autism spectrum out the door. He’s very excited to be back at school. So there was sort of a screeching halt and we had to recalibrate,” said Megan Munson-Warken.

Warken says she appreciates the steps the district took to protect its staff and students, such as her son.

Labrecque says the department didn’t receive any calls overnight, despite witnesses hearing several gunshots followed by vehicles fleeing the area. 

“It’s kind of concerning for the police department because we really do rely on the community,” said Lebrecque. 

He says had people called the police, they might have had suspects by now. The event marks a dozen gunfire incidents in Burlington so far this year. The same numbers in 2020 alone. From 2012-2019, the annual average of gunfire incident was two.

But he says the department is working hard to address the increase in gun violence in the city.

“As the police department, we’ve done a really good job with at least trying to get some of these people who have committed these crimes off the street,” said Labrecque.

BPD reported finding bullet casings and rounds in other locations. They plan to analyze those along with the security footage.  Superintendent Flanagan says he expects students and staff to safely return to school on Monday. 

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