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Suspect arrested after Derby Walmart shooting, theft

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DERBY — A Boston man was apprehended Wednesday evening following a shooting and auto theft at the Walmart Supercenter in Derby.

Wellington Arias, 21, is facing multiple charges including aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and aggravated operating without the consent of the owner after a confrontation in the Walmart parking lot led to gunfire and the theft of a vehicle.

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Vermont State Police responded to the incident at around 4:25 p.m. and quickly identified Arias as a person of interest. A “Be on the lookout” alert was issued for the suspect and the vehicle.

State troopers stationed in St Johnsbury later spotted and pulled over a Nissan Altima for speeding on I-91 Northbound in Lyndonville. Arias, who was driving the vehicle, was then arrested and handed over to Derby troopers for processing.

The victim, identified as 40-year-old Jason Willey, was allegedly involved in a confrontation with Arias that escalated to gunfire. A shot was fired from a handgun, which ricocheted off the pavement, and Arias reportedly stole Willey’s gray Chevrolet Equinox.

The Walmart was open and the parking lot was occupied at the time of the incident.

Arias was held without bail by the on-call judge and is lodged at the Northern State Correctional Facility. He is scheduled to appear in Orleans Superior Court, Criminal Division, on May 30 at 12:30 p.m.

State Police detectives, the Vermont Drug Task Force, and uniformed troopers from the Derby and St Johnsbury Barracks are continuing the investigation, processing evidence, and conducting interviews. Assistance was provided by the Newport Police Department and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities are actively seeking the whereabouts of the stolen Chevrolet Equinox. Members of the public with information are encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police’s Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.

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