Vermont State Police still investigating Castleton homicide
Vermont State Police are still investigating the death of a 77-year-old Castleton woman who was shot and killed Thursday afternoon.
Police identified the victim as Honoree Fleming, a retired dean of education and professor at Castleton University, now part of Vermont State University. She was also a former faculty member at Trinity College, Middlebury College and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Fleming was married to best-selling author and journalist Ron Powers.
Fleming was found at 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon on the rail trail in Castleton near 1660 South St., about a mile from the Castleton University campus. The chief medical examiner determined she died of a gunshot wound to the head.
According to VSP, detectives have interviewed numerous witnesses and are gathering surveillance footage from the area. Witnesses told police they heard gunshots and then saw a man walking north on the rail trail towards the Castleton campus.
Police are searching the area for a suspect, who witnesses described as a white male, approximately 5 '10” with short red hair, wearing a dark gray T-shirt, and carrying a black backpack. Law enforcement and town officials say the suspect is considered armed and dangerous and that Castleton residents should keep an eye out for any suspicious activities or people.
“Lock your doors, lock your cars, don't leave your keys in your car,” said Michael Jones, Castleton’s town manager. “And use the buddy system whenever out and about, stay out in the open. And carry a cellphone with you and report any suspicious persons or activities that you may see.”
Vermont State Police are also asking Castleton residents and businesses to review their surveillance systems and game camera footage from Oct. 5 during the early afternoon to evening hours.
Speaking on Vermont Edition Monday, Mike Smith, interim president of Vermont State University said Fleming was “really revered” on campus.
“A lot of people loved her. A lot of people are emotional about this in terms of what happened to her,” Smith said. “The town, in particular Castleton, is in shock in terms of – she was a beloved community member as well.”
The university was on break when the shooting occurred. As students and staff return to campus, Smith said they have increased security on campus, including doubling the amount of public safety people on campus and contracting with Rutland County Sheriff's Department. He said VSP has enhanced security and patrols around the community.
Classes are set to resume Tuesday.
Brittany Patterson and Mikaela Lefrak contributed reporting to this story.