Cop impersonator accused of three gun-related felonies
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | March 28,2013
BENNINGTON — A local man who has a long history of impersonating a law-enforcement officer was held on $50,000 bail this week after police said he pointed a gun at his roommate March 15 during an argument over the management of the roommate’s music career.
Christopher J. Gagne, 38, of Bennington, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court Monday on felony charges of first-degree unlawful restraint in a manner that risked injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a weapon while committing a crime. Collectively, the charges carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Gagne pleaded innocent to the charges but remained in the Rutland jail as of Tuesday afternoon after Judge Cortland Corsones set a bail of $50,000.
In an affidavit, Officer Lawrence Cole, of the Bennington Police Department, said he met with two men, Jamell Rogers and James Kinne, on March 15 around 3 p.m. Rogers said he and Gagne had lived together in Gagne’s Union Street apartment for about a month but over the previous two days, the men had argued over “Gagne managing Rogers’ attempt to become a vocal recording artist.”
Rogers said they had a heated argument March 15 in Rogers’ bedroom and he attempted to leave the home but Gagne physically restrained him.
Kinne told Cole that he entered the home during the argument and saw Gagne restraining Rogers. Kinne said when he tried to pull Gagne away, Gagne threatened to shoot Rogers if he didn’t leave.
Kinne said he then left because he didn’t want to be involved in the situation but Rogers said while he continued to struggle with Gagne, he noticed that Gagne was holding a handgun.
The affidavit does not provide any information about the make and model of the handgun Gagne was allegedly holding.
According to Rogers, Gagne threatened to shoot him in the head but he was able to get around Gagne and escape the home.
Cole noted that Gagne is 10 inches taller and weighs 55 pounds more than Rogers.
Police searched Gagne’s apartment on March 15 but he was not there, Cole said. At that time, Cole believed Gagne was at his mother’s home in Williamstown, Mass., and the affidavit said Gagne was arrested there March 16 by Massachusetts police.
Gagne was arraigned Monday in Bennington after waiving extradition from Massachusetts.
According to court records, Gagne, under his birth name, Hans Peterson, has convictions in Vermont for impersonation of a public officer in 1994 and 1995 and providing private investigative services without a license in 1997.
During Gagne’s arraignment, Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke said there was an active warrant for Gagne’s arrest issued from Jefferson Parish, La., for impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment using a weapon from 2007.
Attorney Lucy McCarthy, who represented Gagne, asked the judge to consider the age of Gagne’s convictions in Vermont and said that her client hadn’t “fled” but had simply gone to his mother’s home, which happens to be in a town in Massachusetts which borders Vermont.
Gagne also has pending misdemeanor charges of false pretenses, possession of stolen property, providing false information to police and false advertising for which he was arraigned earlier this month in Bennington criminal court.
In 2012, Gagne was briefly appointed as Bennington’s town service officer but he was removed from the position after local police received information that he had made false claims on his application, including that he had been a member of the police department in New Orleans.