BENNINGTON VT April 8 2017— A 24-year-old man has denied felony charges related to an incident at Southern Vermont College last weekend in which police say he pointed a gun towards an officer after campus security tried to search his dorm room.
The student, who according to court documents is originally from Illinois, allegedly had a loaded handgun in his room, as well as nearly two ounces of marijuana. Bennington police were called to assist campus security at Hunter Hull after he allegedly brandished a gun early Saturday morning.
Colbert O. Hagler Jr. pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division on Monday to three felony counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer — one count by threatening with a deadly weapon and two counts by preventing exercise of lawful duty. Hagler, of Villa Park, Ill., also pleaded not guilty to single counts of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana and possessing a weapon at a school with intent to injure, both misdemeanor charges.
Hagler was arraigned in Rutland, where he is being held without bail pending a weight of evidence hearing on April 13.
Bennington Police Cpl. David J. Faden, in an affidavit, wrote that he responded to the college at about 2:25 a.m. on Saturday, where he met with Bennington Police Officer Amanda Knox, two campus security officers, a college administrator and a staff member.
When campus security officers arrived at Hagler's door and told him they were going to search his room, he became increasingly angry and agitated and began stepping towards the bed. When told by a campus security officer to leave the room, Hagler allegedly reached behind him to pick up a jacket and began putting it on.
In the affidavit, Faden wrote he became concerned that Hagler was attempting to access the weapon in one of the jacket pockets. Hagler "refused all commands to stop putting on the coat and to step out of the room. I could see Hagler reaching for the pockets of the coat and not the zipper. I entered Hagler's room from the hallway and began an attempt to control his arms."
As Faden and Knox attempted to handcuff Hagler, he "began actively attempting to fight and flee officers." The struggle moved into the hallway, where Faden, Knox and campus security officers tried to control him. At one point, Hagler grabbed one of his jacket pockets, in which Knox and Faden could see the outline of the gun.
"This officer could see that Hagler was twisting the pocket toward Officer Knox who was directly over it," Faden wrote. "I could see that Hagler had his hand on the gun. This officer could clearly see the shape of the gun in the pocket."
Officers were eventually able to force Hagler's hand from the gun and handcuff him. The gun had been pointed directly at Knox's head and chest during the struggle, Faden wrote. The Ruger 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition and the safety was in the off position.
When campus security officers searched the dorm room, they found 1.95 ounces of marijuana and a large amount of cash.