A search continued in Vermont Friday for the person responsible for a deadly shooting near the campus of Vermont State University in Castleton, state police said.
Vermont State Police in a statement said police first responded around 4:30 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of a deceased person on the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail near South Street in Castleton. Responding troopers soon found 77-year-old Honoree Fleming dead at the scene, according to police.
State police said a witness told investigators they saw a “possible suspect” walking north toward the Vermont State University campus after they heard gunshots.
The witness described the person as a white male standing approximately 5’10” with short, dark-colored hair. Police said the person was last seen wearing a dark gray t-shirt and carrying a black backpack.
Vermont State Police on Friday said the suspect in this incident is considered “armed and dangerous” and asked anyone with information to contact investigators.
While the police investigation continued, state police also asked anyone with surveillance systems or game cameras in the Castleton area to review video from the early afternoon and evening on Thursday.
“The public is urged to remain vigilant and alert for suspicious person(s) and activities and to report anything suspicious to the Vermont State Police,” state police said.
Anyone needing to report suspicious activities can call police at 802-773-9101. There is also an option to submit anonymous tips online.
Honoree Fleming’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy on Friday, according to the state police. Her cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head.
Fleming was a retired dean of education at Vermont State University Castleton who lived in Castleton with her husband, the university said in a statement on Facebook.
“Scores of students benefited from Dr. Fleming’s teachings and research,” Vermont State University Castleton said, in part.
“This is an unbelievable tragedy for the Castleton campus and for all of Vermont State University,” the university said. “Honoree will be deeply missed.”
Part of the trail where Fleming’s body was found was closed while authorities worked in the area on Thursday. Police said the trail had reopened as of Friday afternoon.
A shelter in place order was issued for the Vermont State University campus in Castleton. The order remained in effect on Friday, with all campus buildings closed and events on campus canceled.
In a message to the campus community, Interim President Michael Smith said there would be an increased police presence in the area. Smith continued, saying the campus’ emergency management team “is closely monitoring the situation.”
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