DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Vermont

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Christina E. Nolan
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Assigned

Indictment for Federal Firearms Offense Relating to Officer-Involved Shooting in Pownal, Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Bernard Rougeau, 48, of Pownal, Vermont was arraigned today in federal court in Burlington.  A federal grand jury indicted Rougeau for possessing a firearm having been previously convicted of a felony crime.
According to court records, the charge in the Indictment relates to Rougeau’s armed encounter with members of the Vermont State Police and local law enforcement on October 18, 2018 in Pownal.  Police responded to a 911 call reporting that Rougeau was intoxicated and had cut himself.  Rougeau confronted law enforcement officers while carrying a loaded 12 gauge double-barreled shotgun, and did not comply with officers’ commands to drop the weapon, instead raising it toward a Vermont State Trooper.  Members of law enforcement shot Rougeau and deployed a taser before Rougeau was disarmed. Police then rendered medical aid before Rougeau was flown to Albany Medical Center, where he received treatment for his injuries. Rougeau was ultimately transferred to state custody, where he remains while awaiting trial in Bennington County on charges of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Reckless Endangerment, and Interference with Emergency Services. At the time of his confrontation with law enforcement, Rougeau was prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law due to his felony record.
If convicted, Rougeau faces a maximum of ten years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  The actual sentence however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the indictment is merely an accusation, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
United States Attorney Christina Nolan commended the investigative efforts of the Vermont State Police, as well as the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  She stated:  “This case highlights the inherent danger of firearms in the hands of convicted felons and domestic abusers.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to prioritize enforcement of federal gun laws against those who should never possess them.  We will be especially aggressive and intolerant when it comes to those who endanger our brave men and women in uniform.  This case exemplifies their courage and their daily sacrifices in keeping us all safer.”
“Convicted felons who carry firearms pose a serious risk to public safety,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly D. Brady.  “ATF will continue to aggressively pursue these investigations and work with our law enforcement partners to remove these violent criminals from our communities.”
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Spencer Willig.  The defendant is represented by the Federal Public Defender.
Boston Field Division