Man dies from gunshot at Vt. "Occupy" protest

Pat Nilsson (Center) attends the general assembly of Occupy Burlington protesters, in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, at City Hall Park in Burlington, Vt., on Oct. 28, 2011. Ryan Mercer,AP Photo/The Burlington Free Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Witnesses say a man shot himself in an encampment of the Occupy Wall Street in Burlington, Vermont.

Police say a 35-year-old man was taken to the hospital where he died. The victim has been identified, but police will not release his name until his family is notified.

Reports from both police and fellow protesters indicated that gunshot was self-inflicted, although it was not clear whether it might have been an accident or a suicide attempt. Burlington Deputy Chief Andi Higbee said the public was not in danger given the circumstances of the shooting.

The shooting was reported around 2 p.m.

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People who know him say the man is a military veteran. Occupy Vermont leader Emily Reynolds says he "clearly needed more help than we were capable of giving him."

Speaking to the Burlington Free Press protester Hayley Mason said the man had been in park for several days. "I don't know a lot about his personality. He loves the outdoors. He's been a member of our community," she told the paper.

The paper reported escalating crashes between protesters and the police -- who wished to clear the park to conduct an investigation -- following the shooting.

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