Police seek witnesses in Westminster shooting death of Boston man

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WESTMINSTER — Detectives with the Vermont State Police are actively investigating the shooting death of a Boston man whose body was found in a truck on the side of Route 103 on the afternoon of Nov. 1.

So far, though, investigators haven't turned up any leads or, if they have, they're not sharing anything with the public.

"I don't have any major substantial updates," said VSP Lt. John-Paul Schmidt during a news conference at the State Police barracks in Westminster on Friday.

Roberto Fonseca-Rivera, 44, worked for Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruit & Produce of Hyde Park, Mass. He was last seen in Rutland shortly after noon on Nov. 1, making a delivery at the 99 Restaurant in Rutland Town. His truck, with his body inside it, was found parked on the shoulder of Route 103 in Bartonsville, between Lower

Bartonsville Road and Williams Road, about 40 miles south, with at least two bullet holes in the driver's side windshield of the truck.

Police said they believe the shooting took place between 1 and 1:30 p.m., although police weren't called to check on the truck until 5:45 p.m.

Earlier on Nov. 8, troopers were stopping people on Route 103, handing out flyers and asking them if they had seen anything unusual on Nov. 1.

"Set up so that we can encounter members of the public, motorists who travel that area ... trying to come into contact with motorists that were maybe passing through a week ago ... if they've seen anything, if they have any video, if they have any knowledge we want them to reach out to us and further the investigation."

During the press conference, members of the media asked a number of questions about the incident itself, but Schmidt declined to share details for fear of endangering the investigation.

"I can't get into specific details of the investigation," he said.

Fonseca-Rivera was one of five men convicted in 2018 of cocaine trafficking in Massachusetts. Fonseca-Rivera was sentenced last November to a year and a day.

The death of Fonseca-Rivera prompted his employer to post a public statement on social media, praising him for being a kind person and a dedicated worker. In an interview with a Boston television station, owner Ted Katsiroubas said the company was aware of Fonseca-Rivera's conviction in 2018 of cocaine trafficking, and said they re-hired him because he had served his time and was a good worker.

When asked by the media if investigators had spoken to any of the other men convicted with Fonseca-Rivera, Schmidt again declined to provide any information.

"We've been contacted by some connections or associates from out of state," he said. "I can't really get into who we're talking to or not talking to for this case."

Schmidt noted that the VSP has gone to door to door in the area and has collected video surveillance footage which it is still reviewing.

The Boston Herald reported four days ago that Fonseca-Rivera had been shot in the back of the head execution style, according to an autopsy report. However, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office of Vermont only stated Fonseca-Rivera's cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and neck, and the manner of death was homicide.

"I don't know where [the Herald] got that information, but I'm not going to comment on that either," Schmidt said.

He also declined to confirm or deny whether the VSP has identified any suspects in the case.

Anyone who might have information should call the State Police at 802-722-4600 or via the tip line at 844-848-8477.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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