Burlington, VT– Two men are dead after a shooting in Burlington’s Old North End that police believe was drug related.
Khalif M. Jones, 27, of Stowe, and Anthony R. Smith, Jr., 26, of Vergennes were killed late Sunday night.
Chief Jon Murad said it was just the first in a series of crimes that began Sunday and stretched into Monday morning.
“This was a shift that went on for many, many hours,” Murad said at a press a Monday press conference. “It probably seemed pretty interminable.”
Just before 8 p.m. Sunday, police responded to a report of gunshots at 101 Main Street, near Pine Street. No injuries were reported, but witnesses told police they saw two people leaving the area.
“In the absence of any victims and in the absence of any strong indicators of a suspect, detectives would take on the case in the following day,” said Murad.
But less than an hour and a half later, just before 9:15 p.m., police received calls of more gunfire at 4 Decatur Street in the Old North End.
Police found one man dead; another died after being transported to UVM Medical Center.
Murad said officers found evidence of drug trafficking. Jones was known to Burlington police with a history of robbery, aggravated assault and DUIs.
“We believe that this was an incident in which Mr. Smith was killed by Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones may have been killed by a third person who was at the scene,” explained Murad. “A firearm was recovered with Mr. Jones; we believe that was the firearm that was used to kill Mr. Smith. The firearm that was used to kill Mr. Jones is not currently accounted for.”
Police found evidence that more than one gun was used at the scene, and say the two victims did not live at the address.
In a night filled with multiple crimes, Murad attributes many of the activities to drugs, a situation Mayor Miro Weinberger says is ever-growing in the state.
“The nature of our drug crisis in Vermont has fundamentally changed, it needs to become the state’s top public safety and public health priority,” said Weinberger.
“Anytime we see crime like this, it makes all of us not only feel less safe, but we are less safe,” said Murad.
The police chief says there is no danger to the public at this time.