The Vermont Cynic

Suspects arrested after a fatal shooting near campus

A+shootout+that+occurred+3+p.m.+April+16+on+North+Willard+Street+led+to+the+arrest+of+four+suspects+in+the+murder+of+a+23-year-old+man.+The+shootout+resulted+in+multiple+CatAlerts+warning+students+to+avoid+the+area%2C+until+the+5+p.m.+alert+opened+the+area+for+regular+traffic.+
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Suspects arrested after a fatal shooting near campus

A shootout that occurred 3 p.m. April 16 on North Willard Street led to the arrest of four suspects in the murder of a 23-year-old man. The shootout resulted in multiple CatAlerts warning students to avoid the area, until the 5 p.m. alert opened the area for regular traffic.

A shootout that occurred 3 p.m. April 16 on North Willard Street led to the arrest of four suspects in the murder of a 23-year-old man. The shootout resulted in multiple CatAlerts warning students to avoid the area, until the 5 p.m. alert opened the area for regular traffic.

Sawyer Lofus

A shootout that occurred 3 p.m. April 16 on North Willard Street led to the arrest of four suspects in the murder of a 23-year-old man. The shootout resulted in multiple CatAlerts warning students to avoid the area, until the 5 p.m. alert opened the area for regular traffic.

Sawyer Lofus

Sawyer Lofus

A shootout that occurred 3 p.m. April 16 on North Willard Street led to the arrest of four suspects in the murder of a 23-year-old man. The shootout resulted in multiple CatAlerts warning students to avoid the area, until the 5 p.m. alert opened the area for regular traffic.

Lee Hughes, Assistant News Editor

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Following a shootout near UVM’s campus, four suspects in the murder of a 23-year-old man have been arrested.

The shootout occurred 3 p.m. April 16 on North Willard Street and resulted in multiple CatAlerts warning students to avoid the area, until the 5 p.m. alert opened the area for regular traffic.

Victim Benzel Hampton, originally from Florida, was fatally wounded, and one of his suspected attackers, 36-year-old James Felix, was also injured, according to an April 18 press release from Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo.

Hampton leaves behind two children. The Burlington Police Department has spoken with his sister, girlfriend and estranged wife, the release stated.

Brandon Sanders, 18, Johnny Ford, 32, and Felix allegedly attacked Hampton while Hampton was involved in a drug deal at 235 North Willard st.

Lesine Woodson, 32, drove the vehicle used by attackers to leave the scene of the shooting. Woodson was arrested by Burlington Police April 16 on Colchester Avenue.

Following the shootout, Hampton’s attackers drove down Colchester Avenue and flagged down an ambulance.

When police arrived, Sanders and Ford had already fled the area, according to the police report.

Felix is at the UVM Medical Center for treatment for his injuries, according to the release.

All suspects were arrested by the night of April 17, and the four will likely be charged with second-degree murder, according to the release.

Sanders was apprehended by federal authorities the evening of April 17 on I-91 in Connecticut, the release stated.

Senior Mary McCann lives near where the shooting occured, but was not home at the time of the incident, she said. 

She did see the police and ambulance activity following the shooting as she was driving later.

To McCann, this event is connected to a larger, ongoing drug issue surrounding the area, she said.

Regardless, she doesn’t feel less safe following the incident.

“I don’t think it changes things dramatically for me,” McCann said. “When it’s so close to campus, there’s a little bit more awareness.

“So it’s good people are becoming more aware of it, but it’s not a new problem.”

University Communications Director Enrique Corredera said although this incident did not occur on campus, students should be aware of their surroundings and take general precautions.

“There just needs to be an awareness that incidents of violence, and particularly violence involving weapons, can and do happen in the city from time to time,” Corredera said. “It helps for students to be aware.”

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Suspects arrested after a fatal shooting near campus