By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
COLCHESTER -- A man who was part of a high-speed police chase through Winooski and Colchester – and that closed part of Interstate 89 -- on Wednesday is a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a Burlington man at his home Sunday night, federal court papers show.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed a criminal complaint against Octavius Allen-Napier, 25, of Winooski on Thursday on charges of illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon and unlawful possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. The May 12, 2018 offenses are unrelated to the fatal shooting incident, officials said.
Steven Curtis Martin, 38, was seriously wounded about 11:30 p.m. Sunday during a shootout at his home on North Street, next to the Dr. John Boardman Fire Station No. 2. Martin died at the hospital. Early reports indicated two men had pushed their way into the Martin residence, multiple shots were fired and the two intruders fled in a black car, police said.
A motion seeking to detain Allen-Napier pending trial in the federal case reports that he may be linked to the shooting that left Martin dead in his home.
The ATF reported Allen-Napier was caught Wednesday after a motor vehicle chase that ended in Colchester at the weigh station off the northbound lane of Interstate 89. The entrance to I-89 in Colchester near the Winooski city line also was shut down for several hours as police searched for clues tossed from his car.
Law enforcement is investigating a couple of cases involving Allen-Napier including “his possible involvement in a shootout involving multiple firearms in a crowded Burlington neighborhood on April 26, 2020 that left one man dead,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia A. P. Cowles wrote.
Allen-Napier was due in federal court for an afternoon hearing, but he first had a video hearing in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington in the morning to answer a charge of violation of probation for an earlier aggravated assault, records show. Allen-Napier moved from his apartment at 59 Hickok Street in Winooski earlier this year and never told his probation officer, the charge notes.
The state probation officer, who spoke to Allen-Napier on April 2, said he learned on April 29 the probationer had moved out a few weeks earlier without any notice to the state. Allen-Napier failed to respond to phone messages and texts. He also was expected to undergo mental health and anger management screening and risk reduction programming, but the probation officer reported Allen-Napier had failed to fully engage, records show.
State Judge John Pacht ordered Allen-Napier, also known as “Keem,” held without bail. Allen-Napier denied he violated probation.
That caused the postponement of his scheduled 3 p.m. appearance in the federal gun case before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy in U.S. District Court in Burlington.
Allen-Napier received a 2-to-8 year prison sentence Aug. 23, 2019 for an aggravated assault conviction with all but 375 days suspended. Judge Kevin Griffith told Allen-Napier, formerly of Philadelphia, he would be supervised by state probation for 6 years.
The fight outside Five Guys restaurant on Church Street netted the victim a broken jaw, missing teeth, a cracked orbital bone (eye socket), and other cuts and bruises, court records show.
The ATF reported Allen-Napier has an April 2013 felony conviction for carrying a firearm without a license in Philadelphia.
The ATF, Burlington Police and state police have been investigating the shooting. Burlington Police did report evidence suggests a gunfight with rounds discharged by the victim and the two suspects. Investigators said they believed the victim and the suspects were known to one another.
Officers tracked the suspect to an address in Winooski on Wednesday, and were monitoring the area when Allen-Napier departed in the car. Police said they attempted to stop the car, but Allen-Napier ignored officers and instead fled northbound on I-89. The pursuit ended at the Colchester weigh station when the vehicle stopped and officers took the suspect into custody, police said.
Investigators collected a large amount of evidence from the location in Winooski, the route of the pursuit, and the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
Interim Burlington Police Chief Jennifer Morrison had praised for the joint team effort by federal, state and city investigators.
“The work done on this case by our officers and our partners has been phenomenal,” Morrison said.
“From the initial response to the homicide scene by dispatch and patrol, to the past three days of intense investigatory work by BPD’s detectives, VSP investigators, and ATF and DEA agents, these officers have found answers, leveraged technology and relationships, and made our city safer in the process,” Morrison said.
“We still have work to do on this case and we will not let up until we have all the questions surrounding the homicide on Sunday night answered,” she said.
Anybody who has information on the case, including witnessing the pursuit is asked to contact Burlington Police at 658-2704.
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