BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont State Police identified the man shot and killed by an officer of the Brattleboro Police Department on April 4 as Michael J. Santiago, 35, of Brattleboro.
The police officer, who has not yet been named, was placed on administrative leave, per Brattleboro Police Department policy. The name of the officer will be released as soon as possible based on the needs of the death investigation.
The Vermont Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that Santiago died of gunshot wounds. Projectiles recovered from his body will be sent to the Vermont Forensic Lab for ballistic analysis.
Following the incident, which occurred just before 6 a.m., detectives from the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation began an investigation. Officers from the Brattleboro Police Department were attempting to execute a court ordered search warrant at 959 Putney Road at the American Best Inn, Room 301. This search warrant was obtained as the result of an ongoing drug investigation and authorized police to search the room for drugs and Santiago. During the initial entry, a Brattleboro Police officer discharged his duty weapon, striking Santiago. Rescue personnel were staged nearby and responded immediately to the scene. The male subject was pronounced deceased by medical personnel at the scene.
The incident is still under investigation and once complete, will be reviewed by the Windham County State's Attorney and Vermont Attorney General's Office, as is customary in an officer-related shooting.
Santiago was arrested on Nov. 12 and cited with aggravated assault on a police officer, theft from a motor vehicle and credit card fraud. An investigation led police to Santiago and when police attempted to speak with him, he attempted to flee and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, Santiago assaulted a police officer, according to a press release. He was one of three people suspected of committing a rash of thefts from motor vehicles in late October and early November.
Nine days later, police responded to Walnut Street for the report of a theft from a vehicle. Officers saw Santiago fleeing the scene on foot. He was arrested and cited with petit larceny and being in possession of burglar's tools.
In 2009, Santiago was arrested on Putney Road for driving with a criminally suspended license.