HARDWICK, Vermont (Monday, Nov. 13, 2023) Vermont State Police — Robert Marquis, 52, of Hardwick died over the weekend at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington following several days of treatment for injuries he sustained when he was shot Wednesday at his home in Hardwick.
An autopsy was performed Sunday at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death is a homicide.
Mr. Marquis’ family would like the public to know that he was an organ donor, and his decision saved at least three lives.
The Vermont State Police investigation into this incident is continuing. Once the investigative work is complete, VSP will turn over the case to the Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office for review, given that the suspect in the homicide has died by suicide.
***Update No. 1, 5:50 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023***
The Vermont State Police is identifying the victim of Wednesday night’s shooting in Hardwick as Robert Marquis, 52, who owns the home at 76 Elm St. where the incident occurred.
Marquis remains hospitalized as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he is listed in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
The suspect in the shooting is Donald Brochu Jr., 55, who was renting a room in Marquis’ home. An autopsy performed Thursday at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington concluded Brochu’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was a suicide.
VSP’s investigation determined that after shooting Marquis, Brochu drove away from the residence in the direction of Walden on Vermont Route 15. Police later received reports at about 6:50 p.m. that Brochu’s vehicle had been found crashed near 4695 Route 15 in Walden. Troopers responded to the area and began searching for Brochu, ultimately locating him about two miles away walking on Cahoon Farm Road near the intersection with Cobb Road. Brochu was armed with a handgun.
Troopers sought cover behind a cruiser and ordered Brochu to drop the firearm, which he refused to do. Members of VSP’s Crisis Negotiation Unit spoke with Brochu by phone for more than 20 minutes in an effort to deescalate the situation and persuade him to surrender peacefully. About 26 minutes after arriving on scene, as Brochu continued to ignore commands to drop the gun, troopers fired several less-than-lethal rounds, including bean bags and a rubber impact projectile. At least one projectile struck Brochu. After taking several additional steps toward troopers, Brochu shot himself in the head with his own gun. Troopers immediately began performing life-saving measures, but Brochu was pronounced dead on scene at 7:30 p.m.
The deployment of less-than-lethal rounds is a use of force under Vermont State Police policy, and, per standard procedure, commanders will review the use of force. That review is underway, and no additional details are available at this time.
***Initial news release, 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023***
The Vermont State Police and the Hardwick Police Department are investigating a shooting that critically injured a man Wednesday evening, Nov. 8, 2023, in the town of Hardwick. The suspected shooter subsequently died in an apparent suicide in the town of Walden.
Police received a 911 call at about 5 p.m. regarding a dispute between two roommates at a home on Elm Street. Responding Hardwick police officers located a man in his early 50s suffering a gunshot wound. The suspected shooter, who was also one of the man’s roommates, was unaccounted for. A be-on-the-lookout alert was issued for the suspect, a man in his late 50s, and a vehicle he was believed to be driving.
At about 6:50 p.m., the Vermont State Police received reports that a vehicle matching that description had crashed on Vermont Route 15 in Walden. Responding troopers encountered the man, who was carrying a firearm, on foot about two miles from the crash location. With assistance from the Crisis Negotiation Unit, troopers attempted to deescalate the situation. During the encounter, troopers deployed less-than-lethal impact rounds. The subject then shot himself with his own firearm and was pronounced dead on scene at about 7:30 p.m.
The victim of the initial shooting was brought to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington for treatment of life-threatening injuries. His condition was unknown as of 9 p.m. Thursday.
The names of the individuals involved will be released following further investigation and notification of relatives. The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington will perform an autopsy on the deceased subject to confirm the cause and manner of his death.
This investigation is in its preliminary stages and involves members of the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Field Force Division and Victim Services Unit. The Hardwick Police Department is providing assistance. The Morriston Police Department and game wardens from the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife also assisted.
Anyone with information that could assist investigators in this case is asked to call the Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury at 802-748-3111. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
No further information is currently available. VSP will provide updates as the investigation unfolds.