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Man pleads not guilty to shooting in Vergennes

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:41 PM EST
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VERGENNES, Vt. (WCAX) - We are learning new details about a shooting that took place in Vergennes over the weekend.

Sunday morning, police responded to First Street in Vergennes, where they found a man in front of this house with a gunshot wound.

“Just a big bang and I thought, well that’s not ice or snow coming off the roof,” said Janet Paquin of Vergennes.

Paquin says she was finishing her Sunday breakfast when she heard gunshots.

“I came outside to see what was going on and I saw a young man here and another laying on the ground across the street. I said, ‘Is he alright?’ He said, ‘No, he has been shot.’ So I ran back into the house and called 911,” Paquin said.

When police arrived, they found Michael LaFountain, 42, with shotgun wounds to his abdomen and wrist.

Police arrested Raymond White, 34.

“There was no confrontation. He gave himself up,” Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel said.

In front of the house on Monday, tensions were still high in the community.

White pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Court paperwork says White had not seen Tiffany Bedard since the start of the month. She had lived with him and is the mother of his child. White believed his girlfriend Bedard was being held against her will by a man named, Charles Root. White thought Root would keep her from seeing him by providing her drugs. White even contacted the police.

To try to talk to Bedard, White offered to sell his truck to Root. Then instead of money, a down payment came in drugs in the form of crack cocaine.

“It’s definitely clear from the affidavit that he had some sort of obsession with Ms. Bedard. The ability to get a hold of her to the point he was willing to trade a car for drugs just to get her to call him,” Addison County Deputy State’s Attorney Peter Bevere said.

White says he woke up one morning to Root and LaFountain in his house and threatening him if he kept calling the police about Bedard’s safety.

Then on Sunday morning, there was a plan to pay for the remainder of the truck. White says he canceled the deal and offered cash instead of the truck to talk to Bedard.

“There’s another reference the next day some sort of money, almost $900 just for Ms. Bedard to contact him. Ms. Bedard clearly told law enforcement she did not want to speak with him,” Bevere said.

When White woke up on Sunday, there were two men in the house. After a brief altercation, White says he fired his shotgun fearing for his life, hitting LaFountain. White says he used a birdshot shotgun since he knew it wasn’t going to kill the victim.

Police say they are still investigating.

White was released on conditions.

Police say LaFountain is in critical but stable condition.

Related Story:

Vergennes man arrested in connection to weekend shooting

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