Man involved in Vernon stand-off released after court appearance

BRATTLEBORO -- Less than 24 hours after police forced his surrender with tear gas after a lengthy standoff, a Vernon man was released from custody Tuesday.

Thaddeus Cross, 42, still faces three charges related to the Monday incident, which brought more than 30 police officers to his Fort Bridgman Road apartment and forced evacuations. And he'll have to report daily to police, refrain from drinking and adhere to other rules.

But Judge John P. Wesley, relying in part on an expert's evaluation, decided to not impose bail that might have kept Cross behind bars.

That came at the request of defense attorney James Valente, who argued that his client will not flee and is not dangerous.

"The person who did his assessment found that he was not a risk to himself or others," Valente said.

Acting Vernont Police Chief Keith Clark on Monday said Cross sent out a distressed text message in the early morning hours, threatening to harm himself. The situation took a turn for the worse when a neighbor checked on him.

"He pulled her into the apartment and initially would not let her go while waiving a gun around," Clark said, adding that a ringing phone distracted Cross, allowing the woman to escape unharmed.

Friends or family members then visited, trying to get Cross to leave the apartment. He would not, Clark said, and eventually they also departed.

The incident prompted a large-scale police response, with local officers in Vernon, Northfield and Bernardston joined by Vermont State Police and Massachusetts State Police. Vermont State Police sent its Tactical Support Unit, and troopers came from as far away as St. Albans and St. Johnsbury, Clark said.

Five apartments in the same building were evacuated, though no other residents had to leave nearby homes. Route 142 was shut, with Clark saying police were concerned for motorists' safety.

Cross stopped responding to officers around 6:30 p.m., Clark said. Then, "after almost two hours with no contact with him . . . it was decided to use forcible entry," Clark said. "Tear gas was deployed into his house."

Cross left the apartment and surrendered after a second round of tear gas, Clark said.


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