First chaos struck, then tragedy at the Occupy Burlington encampment on Thursday afternoon, when a 35-year-old military veteran shot himself in the head and later died from his wounds. The victim's name was not yet released, but Daily Kos reports his first name was Josh.
According the Burlington Free Press, the shot was fired in the mid-afternoon, with police arriving minutes after that. The victim was still alive at that point and taken to a hospital. He died at 5 p.m.
Steven Sclafani, 39, of Burlington said he was walking through City Hall Park at around 3 p.m. when he heard a bang.
"I thought it was a loud firecracker," he said.
Sclafani said he then saw smoke coming from a tent. Three people ran out of the tent, he added. "I heard someone say ‘He shot himself.' I ran over and saw a man lying on his back," Sclafani said.
The city closed half of City Hall Park and called an immediate halt to all camping, which led to clashes between protesters and police on Thursday night.
The scene was captured by a videographer from the Free Press, who insisted on shooting the removal of the body over the repeated objections of the police. The video places a black box over the body when it emerges from the tent; nevertheless, this footage is sad and disturbing. Consider yourselves warned.