Off-duty Vt. deputy who was involved in gunfight on unpaid leave

Officer Vito Caselnova IV, who refused to drop his gun, was shot multiple times by police who responded to a fight between Caselnova and a group of men

By Shenandoah Briere
The Daily Gazette

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The off-duty Vermont sheriff's deputy who was involved in Sunday's chaotic late-night shooting in the heart of downtown has been placed on unpaid leave, Rutland County Sheriff David J. Fox said Monday.

The officer, Vito Caselnova IV, was shot multiple times by Saratoga Springs police who responded to a fight between Caselnova and a group of men, according to authorities. Officers shot Caselnova after he refused to comply with their orders to lower his weapon, police said.

Caselnova was in stable condition Monday at Albany Medical Center, according to police.

Meanwhile, Saratoga Springs officials continued their investigation Monday into what precipitated the exchange of gunfire on the sidewalk in front of some of Saratoga's most popular Broadway shops and restaurants.

The deputy was shot by Saratoga Springs police just after 3 a.m. Sunday on Broadway after police responded to a shooting between the deputy and a man from Utica that, leaving two people injured.

Fox said the officer carried a non- Vermont-department-issued weapon and has since been placed on unpaid leave. The deputy, who has worked for the department since 2019, does not have a disciplinary record, according to Fox.

Fox also said the deputy lived in New York and traveled to Rutland three times a week for work.

According to Caselnova's LinkedIn, he was a resident of Glens Falls.

Caselnova's LinkedIn profile also lists him as the owner of True North Boat Brokerage and having previously served with the Bay Ridge Rescue Squad as an emergency vehicle operator from 2018 to 2021.

Caselnova graduated from The College of Saint Rose in 2020 with a degree in business management, according to an article from the college in May 2020.

The article lists the deputy as, at the time, working part-time with the Rutland County department and notes that it was Caselnova's "lifelong goal" to work in law enforcement.

The Vermont department was first notified of the shooting involving their officer by Saratoga Springs police Sunday, but Fox said he has since not been in contact with city police.

The other person, an unidentified Utica man, was seriously injured in the shooting and also remained hospitalized at Albany Medical Center Monday.

The deputy's girlfriend, who has not been identified, was grazed by a bullet in the larger incident and was released from the hospital later Sunday, police said.

Saratoga Springs Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Veitch confirmed on Monday that the Saratoga Springs officers who discharged their weapons in the incident have been placed on paid leave, per department policy. Veitch did not name the officers, citing the ongoing investigation.

Both of the shootings, according to street surveillance camera footage released later Sunday, occurred within a two-minute stretch. The fight was ignited by an argument, the content of which remains unknown, said Jim Montagnino, the city Public Safety Commissioner Sunday.

Upwards of eight shots were fired between the two involved in the first exchange of fire, authorities noted.

In officer body camera footage released Sunday, officers can be heard telling the off-duty Vermont deputy to lower his weapon multiple times before the second exchange.

Saratoga Springs Police officers fired their weapons at least 11 times, Montagnino said. None of the Saratoga Springs police officers were injured.

Veitch said police are still investigating why both men involved in the initial incident were in the area.

"Currently we are still investigating if any incidents occurred inside of a bar prior to the shooting incident," Veitch said.

He said any charges for those involved are still being determined.

Now, the city must prepare for what is one of the biggest party nights of the year — Thanksgiving eve.

Veitch said the department was already planning for an increased presence due to the higher call volume it receives that evening each year.

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