In Brattleboro, adjusting to a new normal

Michael Moore/Keene Sentinel

BRATTLEBORO — A day after hundreds of people gathered to mourn a deadly shooting at a local cooperative grocery store, employees at the Brattleboro Food Co-op quietly got back to business Thursday morning.

When the store’s doors opened at 8 a.m., it was the first time shoppers had been in the co-op since the Tuesday morning shooting involving two employees that police say was sparked by a workplace dispute.

At opening time, employees, co-op members and customers began getting back to a new normal, which was changed forever after 59-year-old store manager Michael Martin of Dummerston, Vt., was fatally shot in his office at the store.

A co-worker, Richard E. Gagnon, also 59, of Marlboro, Vt., is jailed in connection with the shooting, accused of first-degree murder.

As customers arrived Thursday morning toting reusable bags, some stopped outside, embracing and speaking over the clatter of nearby construction work on a new co-op and apartment complex.

Some of those arriving on foot crossed a pedestrian bridge — its red bricks splattered with candle wax drippings from the previous night’s vigil — where flowers had been woven into the iron handrails.

A few passers-by cast sidelong glances at the pale green building as they headed down the path.

Inside the store, co-op workers busily readied for the day, brewing coffee, stocking shelves and stacking rows of organic fruits and vegetables.

Solemn faces stretched into kind smiles as shoppers offered hugs and words of support to the employees and other customers. Continue reading

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Suspect arrested with gun in hand

BRATTLEBORO — A Marlboro, Vt., man faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of a co-worker at the Brattleboro Food Co-op apparently sparked by a workplace disagreement.

Michael Moore/Keene Sentinel

Richard E. Gagnon, 59, appeared Wednesday afternoon in Windham Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court wearing shackles over a gray sweatsuit, a day after police say he shot store manager Michael Martin, also 59, of Dummerston, Vt., at the downtown grocery store.

On Friday the two men had argued about Gagnon’s employment after Martin offered Gagnon a severance package if he resigned from the co-op, and Gagnon had called in sick on Monday, according to a police affidavit released after Gagnon’s arraignment.

When he was arrested outside the co-op minutes after Tuesday morning’s shooting, Gagnon was holding a loaded handgun and carrying an extra ammunition magazine and a copy of his latest performance evaluation dated in May, the affidavit said. Continue reading

Shooting death at Brattleboro gathering spot stuns town

BRATTLEBORO — Yellow caution tape blocked curious onlookers Tuesday from the scene of a deadly morning shooting in which police say one employee of a cooperative grocery store in downtown Brattleboro shot another.Police say Brattleboro Food Co-op worker Michael Martin, 59, of Dummerston, Vt., is dead and Richard E. Gagnon, also 59, of Marlboro, Vt., was taken into custody as a result of the shooting, which was reported at 8:16 a.m.
Brattleboro Police Chief Eugene Wrinn said emergency personnel from the police and fire departments and Rescue Inc. initially responded to the co-op for the report of an unresponsive man, who was later pronounced dead.
Wrinn declined to comment on how many people were in the store at the time.
T
he co-op was closed Tuesday and remains closed today. A community vigil is scheduled tonight at 6 on the Whetstone Brook Pathway, which runs past the store’s parking lot, co-op officials said.
The co-op was just opening for the day when the shooting occurred. Continue reading

Chilling account of final moments

BRATTLEBORO — Two men took a Bellows Falls woman to a rural area last week, where one led her into the woods and shot her in the head while the other waited in a nearby car as a lookout, according to a police affidavit released Monday.
Police say 31-year-old Melissa Barratt was shot and left alongside East West Road in Dummerston, Vt. by a man who accused her of stealing drugs from him. Continue reading