A man from Addison County is in custody in Burlington after being accused of attacking several people downtown while not wearing any pants.
Charles Root, 43, of Weybridge was at UVM Medical Center for an evaluation Wednesday and had not been arrested, according to the Burlington Police Department.
Zach Ward, who said he saw the suspect, is the general manager of Ruben James Sports Bar & Grill. He returned to work on Tuesday from a vacation.
“It was my first shift back after the holidays,” Ward said. “It was quite a shift, but (Root) didn’t come in here and affect us at all.”
The assaults of which Root is accused are said to have taken place shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Ward said it was a slow time of day for business, allowing him and the staff at the venue commonly known as RJ’s to get a look at what was going on nearby.
“We saw some police cars kind of pull up out front, so we went outside to check it out,” he said. “I saw, right on the corner of Church and Main, the police were restraining him. He was shouting, kind of yelling a bunch of stuff.”
One of the alleged victims was reportedly a Burlington police officer. Others were civilians who found Root speaking incoherently — while not dressed for January weather — and reportedly tried to help him.
“I don’t think he had any pants on; I think he had just a shirt,” Ward said. “There were just three cop cars around, so that was all I needed to see…kind of a little disturbing.”
Root is also accused of spitting on law enforcement personnel while in custody. Police said none of the alleged civilian victims wished to press charges.
Ward said Wednesday he was glad to learn that the Burlington Fire Department evaluated Root’s altered mental state and brought him to UVMMC for treatment.
“We’ve had issues with that before,” he said. “There was an instance a while back where someone got a citation and then, three hours later, committed another offense. At least he’s off the streets.”
Charges of disorderly conduct, simple assault on law enforcement, and attempted simple assault with bodily fluids, are all pending further evaluation. Investigators are still looking into the incident, so if you were near Church Street and Main Street late Tuesday afternoon, the BPD is asking you to call them at (802) 658-2704.