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Off-duty Rutland County deputy sheriff at center of shootout in upstate New York

Body camera footage shows police responding to a shootout in Saratoga Springs, New York, during which an unnamed Rutland County deputy sheriff was shot. Screenshot courtesy of Saratoga Springs Police Department

An off-duty Rutland County sheriff’s deputy refused police officers’ commands to drop his weapon following a gunfight outside a bar in upstate New York early Sunday morning, prompting the officers to open fire, according to an official with the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

The deputy, who has not been publicly identified, was hospitalized with “multiple” gunshot wounds along with two other people involved in the episode, according to Saratoga Springs Police Sgt. Paul Veitch. All parties are in stable condition or have been discharged, he said.

Police are investigating whether the bullet wounds were sustained in the gunfight between the deputy and another group or from the responding officers’ weapons, Veitch said. However, he said investigators are “fairly certain” that the deputy sheriff was struck “at least once” by uniformed police. 

The incident unfolded shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday, when Saratoga Springs police officers patrolling in the nightlife district heard shots fired on Broadway, about a block away from their location, Veitch said.

“As the officers came around the corner, they observed two separate groups, both kind of faced off (with) each other with handguns,” Veitch said. Both sides had “already been shooting at each other.” Veitch said he could not say how many people were in the other group. 

Officers commanded everyone involved to get on the ground and drop their weapons, but the man — later identified as the deputy sheriff — refused to do so, leading the officers to open fire, Veitch said.

Veitch declined to say how many of the roughly nine officers who responded discharged their weapons. Investigators believe uniformed officers discharged 11 rounds in total, he said.

In addition to the deputy, one man in the other group suffered a bullet wound that “appears” to have been fired by the deputy, Veitch said. A woman who was with the deputy was also struck at some point, he said.

The sheriff’s deputy identified himself as a law enforcement officer as first responders began rendering medical aid to him, Veitch said.

No charges had been filed against anyone involved as of Sunday afternoon, Veitch said. The investigation is ongoing.

Rutland County Sheriff David Fox could not be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone at the sheriff’s department said it would have no comment on Sunday.

Veitch said somebody from the Saratoga Springs police department had contacted the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department “to advise them of the situation.” He said any further contact would be at the discretion of Rutland County.

It’s “their decision in how involved they want to get in the situation,” he said.

Adam Silverman, a spokesperson for Vermont State Police, said in an email, “We are aware of the incident but are not involved at this point.”

Veitch said the Saratoga Springs Police Department is leading the investigation into the initial shooting with assistance from the New York State Police. In addition to determining who shot who, he said, they want to know what prompted the argument and who fired first.

The investigation also includes review of several videos, including from police body cameras, city-owned cameras and private footage that has been turned over to police.

Any of the Saratoga Springs officers who fired weapons have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation “to find out if any policies or protocols were violated,” Veitch said. That investigation is set to be conducted by the Saratoga Springs Police Department, he said.

Saratoga Springs, a city of about 28,000 people, sits roughly 90 minutes southwest of Rutland.

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