Hardwick homeowner in critical condition following shooting, suspect dies by suicide

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HARDWICK – The Vermont State Police have disclosed the identity of the victim in Wednesday night’s shooting as 52-year-old Robert Marquis, the owner of the residence at 76 Elm Street where the incident took place.

As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, Marquis is hospitalized at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, listed in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

The shooting suspect, identified as 55-year-old Donald Brochu Jr., was renting a room in Marquis’ home. An autopsy conducted on Thursday at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington determined that Brochu died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, ruling the manner of death as suicide.

According to the VSP investigation, following the shooting of Marquis, Brochu left the scene heading towards Walden on Vermont Route 15. Around 6:50 p.m., police received reports of Brochu’s vehicle crashed near 4695 Route 15 in Walden. Troopers arriving at the scene commenced a search, eventually finding Brochu approximately two miles from the crash site, armed and walking on Cahoon Farm Road at its junction with Cobb Road.

Troopers took cover and commanded Brochu to drop his weapon, which he did not comply with. The VSP Crisis Negotiation Unit engaged Brochu by phone, attempting to resolve the standoff peacefully. Despite over 20 minutes of negotiation, Brochu continued to defy orders to disarm. Troopers then deployed several less-than-lethal rounds, including bean bags and a rubber impact projectile, striking Brochu.

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The encounter escalated when Brochu, after advancing towards the officers, turned the gun on himself. Troopers provided immediate medical assistance, but Brochu was pronounced deceased at the scene at 7:30 p.m.

The use of less-than-lethal force is subject to review under Vermont State Police policy. Commanders are currently examining this incident, and further details will be provided as the review progresses.

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