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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006

State police identify officer involved in drug raid shooting

BRATTLEBORO—Brattleboro Police Sgt. Mark Carignan has been identified by Vermont State Police as the officer involved in an fatal April 4 shooting.

Carignan, 40, has been on the Brattleboro police force since 2002. A former patrol officer and detective, he is currently the day shift sergeant.

According to state police, the shooting occurred while Brattleboro Police were attempting to serve a search warrant in connection with a drug investigation at the America’s Best Inn, 959 Putney Rd.

State police said the shooting happened at about 5:30 a.m. on April 4.

According to state police, a Brattleboro police officer fired his weapon upon entry into Room 301, striking 35-year-old Michael J. Santiago.

An ambulance was standing by while the raid was being conducted, and state police said personnel from Rescue Inc. responded immediately.

Santiago was pronounced dead at the scene. The Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office later said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Brattleboro police are conducting an internal investigation into the shooting, state police say. Meanwhile, Carignan is on administrative leave.

Last week, Windham County States’ Attorney Tracy Shriver said her office would not participate in reviewing the investigation as her office and the Brattleboro police have a close working relationship.

Instead, Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage will handle the case, along with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, as is customary in officer-related shootings.

Santiago had lived off-and-on in Brattleboro for 18 years, and has had several run-ins with police in recent months.

According to the Rutland Herald, Santiago had been scheduled to appear in Windham District Court on April 14 to answer to charges of aggravated assault with a weapon, simple assault, unlawful mischief, theft from a motor vehicle, credit card fraud, and violation of conditions of release in connection with an incident in Brattleboro in November 2013.

According to court records obtained by the Herald, Santiago had a lengthy criminal record dating back to his teen years in Worcester, Mass. He spent time in jail for heroin trafficking in 2003 after he was stopped in Chester in 2002. He was awaiting action on a possession of heroin charge from August 2013 in South Burlington.

Santiago had been in jail on the South Burlington and Brattleboro charges since his arrest in Brattleboro last November. He had been released from jail on March 18, less than three weeks before the April 4 shooting, when his attorney successfully argued for concurrent bail for the Chittenden and Windham County charges.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #250 (Wednesday, April 16, 2014). This story appeared on page A4.

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