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Gunnar Watson Obituary, Police name suspect and close investigation in Wheelock killing

Gunnar Watson Obituary, – Vermont State Police have identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old man in Wheelock in October 2023. However, no charges will be filed as the suspect took his own life. According to state police, Gary Larocque, 40, of Brownington, shot and killed Gunnar Watson as he stood in the doorway of his home in Wheelock around 5:50 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2023.

The chief medical examiner determined that Watson died from a gunshot wound to the torso. Police found several .223-caliber cartridge casings at Larocque’s house that matched to cartridge casings found at the crime scene. Detectives also used digital location data to place Larocque at the scene, state police said in a press release Tuesday. Larocque died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside his home about two weeks after Watson’s death, police said. The Caledonia County state’s attorney’s office determined a charge of 1st-degree murder would have been filed if Larocque hadn’t killed himself.

Investigators did not identify any motive for the killing. State police said Larocque and Watson were co-workers at a tree cutting company and had known each other for several years. Watson was also a sergeant in the Vermont National Guard and was married with two young children, WCAX reported. Watson’s death was part of an unusual spate of homicides in rural Vermont in October 2023. There have been two arrests in the cases from October; two men were charged in connection to the killing of Jeffrey Caron, 42, in Plainfield, and a 14-year-old was charged with murder after allegedly shooting 14-year-old Madden Gouveia.

The teen’s case was eventually moved to family court, where it will play out behind closed doors. Police are still actively investigating the other homicides, including the killing of Honoree Fleming. The former dean of Castleton University was shot to death while walking on a rail trail in Castleton. “None of them are generally stalled out,” said Maj. Dan Trudeau, commander of the VSP criminal division on Wednes.

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