Police: Man was on school grounds at night with shotgun
Police: Man had shotgun at school
BENNINGTON — A local man was arraigned this week after police said he brandished a shotgun on the grounds of the Mount Anthony Union Middle School on Wednesday.
School is not currently in session and the man does not work for the school.
Thomas R. Dwyer Jr., 58, pleaded innocent in Bennington criminal court Thursday to misdemeanor charges of possessing a weapon at a school with intent to injure another person, reckless endangerment, grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle and disorderly conduct. Dwyer was released without bail but has been ordered to undergo a competency evaluation.
In an affidavit, Sgt. Michael Plusch of the Bennington Police Department said he was dispatched to the parking lot of the middle school on East Road in Bennington, around 9:25 p.m. Wednesday.
Plusch said when he was approaching the school, he saw a man, later identified as Dwyer, coming out of the woods with a shotgun. Plusch said he got out of his police cruiser, drew his weapon and told Dwyer to drop the gun.
While Plusch said Dwyer initially continued toward him holding the shotgun and saying he had a “right to protect himself,” Dwyer did put the gun on the ground after being told to do so a second time.
Plusch said Dwyer told him he was sick and tired of being pushed around and watched all the time.
According to police, Dwyer had been holding a 20-gauge shotgun with a one round in the chamber.
Police also spoke to the people who had called to report Dwyer. Plusch said they told Officer David Faden, also of the Bennington Police Department, that they had pulled into the school’s parking lot because their car was overheating. While they were trying to fix the car, Dwyer drove at them twice, almost hitting them, they told police.
According to the affidavit, the two people, a man and a woman, Dwyer pulled up next to them and asked them — in what they believed was a threatening way — if they were looking for him. They said Dwyer left after they told him they hadn’t been looking for him but they were afraid he might return and hurt them so they left.