Burlington shooting suspect pleads not guilty, investigation into South Burlington slaying continues | Media Pyro


Vermont State Police investigators examine the scene of a fatal shooting Monday, Oct. 3, at the Swiss Host Motel in South Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Updated Monday, October 3 at 6:14 p.m

A South Burlington man is facing second-degree murder charges for allegedly shooting another man at a Burlington apartment Sunday night. He is also under investigation in a fatal shooting three hours later in South Burlington.

Denroy Dacent, 52, was taken into custody shortly before midnight following a standoff with police on Burlington’s beach.

During that confrontation, one officer fired a stun gun at Dacent, and another officer shot the suspect with beanbags and placed him in handcuffs before he complied, police said. The arrest followed a brief, high-speed car chase through downtown streets, police said.

Dazent pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to the murder charge in the shooting death of Sheikh Noor Usman, who was killed Sunday at 8:15 p.m. at his Pine Street apartment in Burlington.

Brian K. was found three hours later on Williston Road in South Burlington, according to police and court filings. Dacent is also under investigation in connection with the fatal shooting of Billings, 37.

On Monday, October 3, 2022, crime tape was left at the scene of the Sunday night murder at 185 Pine St. Photo by Patrick Crowley

Public defender Joshua O’Hara, who is representing Dasent at the trial in Chittenden County Superior Criminal Court in Burlington, did not oppose the prosecution’s request to hold Dasent without bail. O’Hara declined to comment after the hearing.

Dacent attended the hearing by video from the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

At a press conference Monday afternoon at Burlington Police Department headquarters, Acting Chief John Murad outlined a timeline of events connecting the two murders and the suspect’s eventual arrest.

On Monday, Oct. 3, Acting Burlington Police Chief John Murad speaks at a press conference to discuss two recent homicides in Burlington and South Burlington.

Murad said the initial calls about the Pine Street shooting came in around 8:15 p.m. Sunday. When police and members of the Burlington Fire Department arrived at the scene, Osman, the victim, was pronounced dead.

Murad said South Burlington police were dispatched to the Swiss Host Motel just after 11 p.m., as Burlington police detectives and members of the Chittenden County Gun Violence Task Force investigated the Pine Street shooting. The victim, Billings, who was staying at the motel, was also pronounced dead at the scene.

Murad said at the press conference that an eyewitness to the South Burlington shooting identified Dasent as a suspect. Dacent was believed to be driving a gold SUV at the time.

Around 11:30 p.m., police saw Dasan driving slowly in a gold SUV to the scene of the Pine Street shooting, Murad said. Police searched the area and spotted the suspect on Winooski Avenue, prompting an officer to pursue the vehicle into the distance. Dasent got out of the vehicle on College Street when he realized he was being tailgated. According to Murad, an officer pointed his gun at Dasent and told him to get on the ground, but the suspect did not comply, instead telling police, “You’re going to have to shoot me.”

Dasan then got into his vehicle and drove off with police for about a minute, Murad said. At Perkins Pier on the Burlington waterfront, Dacent again exited his vehicle, which crashed into a barrier at a low rate of speed. Dacent ran to the Spot on the Dock restaurant. Murad said more units joined the search and Dasent was finally spotted just before midnight.

The police then tried to subdue Dasan using stun guns and beanbag rounds. After being beaten twice with beanbags, Dasenth was forced to lie on the ground and arrested, police said.

Vermont State Police investigators examine the scene of a fatal shooting Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at the Swiss Host Motel in South Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Murad said the department is treating the arrest as an act of force against a person of color.

Although Dacent was arraigned in the Pine Street shooting, South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke said his department’s investigation is ongoing. He said he was expecting a charge sheet to be filed, but as Dasan was being held without bail, he did not feel rushed. Burke said Sunday’s shooting was the first homicide in South Burlington since 2018.

Mayor Miro Weinberger also spoke at Monday’s press conference and acknowledged that the city has seen a significant increase in gun violence in the past two years, especially in 2022. Murad said the Pine Street shooting was the 25th shooting and fourth homicide in Burlington this year.

“I know these events have shaken our community. We have not used this level of violence in Vermont and we will never have to,” Weinberger said. “There are broad societal forces that drive violent crime across the country, and our city is not immune to them, and we cannot promise that these murders will be the last violent crimes that occur here.”

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger wiped his brow during a press conference Monday, Oct. 3, to discuss two recent homicides in Burlington and South Burlington.

Murad said authorities have not yet identified a motive for the killings, but he said the incident is linked to other Burlington gun incidents. Osman, the Pine Street victim, was also a victim of the May 23 shooting at City Hall Park.

Murad noted that the victim was recently arrested in Burlington.

“Mr. Osman was arrested for aggravated assault in December last year for threatening another man with a machete,” Murad said, adding, “The status of that case remains uncertain.”

Dacent is believed to be a suspect in a shooting at City Hall Park last week, Murad said. A search warrant was executed at Dasent’s home in South Burlington, but Dasent was not questioned. The other party involved in that incident has not been identified, and police do not know if the person who was shot or injured was injured, Murad said.

An 11-page affidavit was filed in support of the murder charge, written by Burlington police Detective Cpl. Nicole Moyer lays out more details, but doesn’t provide a motivation for the shooting either.

The affidavit contains statements from several witnesses, including Wesley Alexander, 61, who lived in the Pine Street apartment at the time of the shooting.

Alexander told police he was sleeping in the apartment when he heard a commotion, and he went into the living room, where he saw a man he had seen a few other times in the past week pushing him, according to the affidavit. Alexander also said he saw “the gun coming up,” and he ran to his room and hid under clothes in his closet, Moyer wrote.

Alexander said he heard a woman in a room with Osman say, in the charging document, “what do you want” or “what do you want?” Then, Alexander said, he heard five to six gunshots.

Tricia Guette told police the shooter broke into the apartment when she tried to close the door, according to the affidavit. Moyer wrote that he pulled out a gun and shot Osman several times and said nothing during the incident.

The affidavit does not provide many details about the South Burlington shooting, but states a witness in that case said the shooter was “Delroy” and that he and his wife owned a restaurant in the University Mall food court.

Vermont State Police and the South Burlington Police Department at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Swiss Host Motel. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

“It should be noted that Dasent and his wife own ‘Island Passion’ in the food court,” the affidavit said.

At the Swiss Host Motel on Monday, Scott Carr, 56, said he was watching a Star Wars movie around 11 p.m. Sunday, shortly before the shooting.

“I got up to go to the bathroom and when I got back in bed, boom, boom, boom,” he said. “Then I heard a woman screaming ‘holy shit’ and ‘someone got shot’.”

According to an affidavit filed in the murder case, Dasant has a criminal record in California, Vermont and New York that includes convictions for obstructing police, drug dealing, aggravated assault and battery and violating conditions of release.

He also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge on Sept. 12 in Chittenden County Superior Criminal Court in Burlington, according to court records. The alleged assailant was released with conditions including not to abuse or harm him.

The next court date in the case has been postponed to October 17.

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