Rutland police shot and killed the adult son of the city's former mayor, Christopher C. Louras, on Tuesday morning after the 33-year-old man allegedly shot up police headquarters.
Vermont State Police believe those two incidents are connected to the apparent murder of a man whose body was discovered Tuesday afternoon beside a road in Salisbury, a town about 30 minutes north of Rutland. Police did not immediately say how the former mayor’s son, Christopher G. Louras, was involved.
But Vermont State Police Major Dan Trudeau said during an afternoon press conference that the younger Louras is suspected of pumping two bullets through the front door of the Rutland City police headquarters during a 5:30 a.m. drive-by shooting.
Rutland cops used security video to identify the car from which the shooter opened fire at the station, Trudeau said. They found the white Ford Focus near a Walmart about 90 minutes later. Louras, the sole occupant, led police on a short pursuit before the car got lodged on railroad tracks at a street crossing.
A gunfight ensued. Louras and four officers — three from the city police, one from the Rutland Town force — exchanged numerous shots. Louras wielded an "AR-15-style" gun, Trudeau said.
"There was a considerable amount of gunfire," he said.
Louras was fatally injured and pronounced dead at Rutland Regional Medical Center. The officers were unharmed.
As state police began to investigate, someone called around 1 p.m. to report the dead body near Route 53 in Salisbury. Investigators said the deceased man did not live in Salisbury and alluded to unspecified “ties” between the death, believed to be a homicide, and Louras' actions.
Trudeau said local police hadn’t had any notable interactions with Louras prior to Tuesday. He declined to speculate on the man's motive.
His father served five terms as Rutland's mayor before voters ousted him in 2017. A Republican-turned-independent, Louras had taken a political risk the previous year by pushing to resettle Syrian refugees in the economically depressed city. The debate consumed local politics and became a microcosm in national media for President Donald Trump-era divisions over immigration.