CLAREMONT — A suspect in a home invasion and attempted sexual assault jumped to his death in Vermont Thursday despite attempts by law enforcement officers to stop him.
Just before 11 a.m. Thursday, Claremont Police received a report of a burglary and attempted aggravated sexual assault in a home on Providence Avenue, according to Claremont Police Chief Alexander Scott. The female resident of the home was able to identify her attacker and told police that the man, who has not yet been publicly identified, drove a white van, Acott said.
Claremont Police asked law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire and Vermont to be on the lookout for the van and the suspect. In the meantime, said Scott, information on the suspect's Facebook page and from his relatives led investigators to believe the suspect was planning to commit suicide.
"Based on phone calls he made and his Facebook posts, we believed he was going to attempt suicide," said Scott. "He called a relative and informed them he was heading toward Vermont on Interstate 91 and the relative made us aware."
Police from Vermont located the white van sitting near a bridge on Interstate 91 over Route 44 between mile markers 54 and 56 in Windsor, Vt. Vermont police informed the Claremont Police Department of the suspect's location. As police approached the suspect from either side of the southbound bridge, a Claremont officer was able to visually identify the suspect, said Scott.
"Our officer then stepped back and let the Vermont State Police take over," said Scott.
The state police were able to make contact with the man, but before they could get close enough to stop him, he leapt from the bridge, falling nearly 100 feet onto Route 44. After hitting the ground, the suspect was then struck by a vehicle travelling on Route 44, said Scott. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"He's the first person in my 23 years on the job to jump in front of us," said Scott. "We've had people shoot themselves, but never had anyone jump."
Scott said the suspect was known to the police but wasn't in frequent trouble in Claremont.
The victim of the attempted burglary and sexual assault was transported to a hospital but did not suffer any serious injuries in the attack, Scott said.
"She's doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances," said Scott.
Police are currently withholding the suspect's identity pending notification of next of kin, said Scott.