Burlington Police shot and killed a 75-year-old man while attempting to evict him from his home Monday night.
Police said a social worker requested a police presence at the South Square Apartments around 5:00pm Monday evening when tenants complained Ralph Grenon was threatening them.
When officers arrived, they said Grenon refused them entry to his apartment. The police broke down the door discovering Grenon holding two knives.
“We’re here to help you. Put the knife down,” an officer reportedly said to Grenon. “We need you to come out. Drop the knife, please.”
As the situation developed into a standoff, a dozen more police cruisers and SUVs arrived, packed with tactical equipment. The police did not clear the entire apartment complex but left surrounding streets empty. No police vehicles had their lights on.
Police in tactical gear entered the apartment causing Grenon to barricade himself in the bathroom. Officers attempted to lure him out by shooting pepper balls into the bathroom. According to the police, Grenon then lunged at officers with the knives forcing officers to use a Taser. When that failed to stop him, an officer fired multiple shots at Grenon. The police obtained the knives and began medical assistance immediately. He was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 10:02pm.
Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo told reporters Grenon was facing eviction having made multiple calls to the police department in the past few weeks. Del Pozo said the man was experiencing a mental health episode and attempts to resolve the situation peacefully had failed. A mental health professional was assisting in the negotiation during the standoff but had ceased communication with Grenon at some point. It remains unclear what prompted this professional to stop using de-escalation tactics. Detectives from the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Major Crimes Unit are investigating the shooting. They are working closely with the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Investigators said, “There’s ample body cam footage” that covers the entire event as it unfolded. The identity of the officer who fired his gun has not been released.
This was the second police-involved shooting in Burlington in the past six months. Last December, 56-year-old Kenneth Stephens was shot and killed by DEA agents during a raid on his Elmwood Avenue home after allegedly pointing a rifle at the officers.