Press Release issued 12/03/2001by the Vermont State Police
On Sunday, December 2, 2001 at approximately 10:00am, Robert A. Woodward, age
37, entered the All Souls Church located in the West Village Meeting House in
Brattleboro, VT. Mr. Woodward was recently residing in Bellows Falls, VT and was
not a member of the All Souls congregation. There were reportedly between 60-75
men, women and children in the church when Mr. Woodward entered the church.
Mr. Woodward approached the podium and made statements to the congregation. He
also passed out blank checks, some of which had written statements on the back.
At this point, members of the congregation escorted approximately 15 children
into the parking lot.
One member of the congregation used his cellular telephone to contact the
Brattleboro Police Department and informed the police dispatcher that the church
had an unwanted subject. Adult members of the congregation started to leave and
Mr. Woodward became upset with this. He reportedly became agitated and pulled
out a knife and held it to his eye. This information was passed on toe the
Brattleboro Police Officers headed to the church.
Mr. Woodward requested a cellular telephone to make telephone calls. A member of
the congregation engaged Mr. Woodward in conversation and placed several calls
for Mr. Woodward. Mr. Woodward put the knife away at some point. A member of the
congregation requested that the remaining members of the congregation leave and
Mr. Woodward then took the knife out again.
Officers Terrance Parker, William Davies, and Marshall Holbrook of the
Brattleboro Police Department arrived at approximately 10:15am and entered the
church. Officers Holbrook and Parker discharged their service pistols when they
believed their safety and members of the congregation's safety was threatened.
Officer Davies did not discharge his service pistol.
Approximately 15-20 members of the congregation remained in the church at the
time of the shooting.
Officers called for an ambulance for Mr. Woodward. Mr. Woodward was transported
to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and was eventually airlifted by DHART to the
Dartmouth Medical Center. While undergoing surgery Mr. Woodward died shortly
Brattleboro Police contacted the Office of the Windham County State's Attorney.
State's Attorney Dan M. Davis responded to the scene of the shooting. After
consulting with Deputy Chief John Martin, Davis contacted Vermont State Police
and Sgt. Reginald Trayah from the Shaftsbury office was assigned to lead the
investigation. Other VSP detectives from southern Vermont were called in to
assist with the investigation. The church was secured overnight and members of
the Forensic Laboratory are processing the scene at this time.
An autopsy is currently being performed in Burlington, VT by Dr. Paul Morrow,
Chief Medical Examiner.
All three officer's service pistols as well as Mr. Woodward's knife have been
secured for examination by the Department of Public Safety's Forensic
Laboratory. At present, it appears that one officer discharged four rounds of
ammunition and one discharged three rounds.
Investigation is continuing at this time.