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Press Release

Joshua Brissette, a Felon with a Prior Conviction for Domestic Violence, Charged with Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Joshua Brissette, 35, of Burlington, Vermont, was charged this morning by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.  A federal arrest warrant was issued for Brissette, who remains in the primary custody of the State of Vermont.  A date for Brissette’s initial appearance in federal court has not yet been scheduled.

According to court records, on April 13, 2020, at approximately 6:18 pm, Burlington Police officers responded to reports of a shooting in the area of 44 North Union Street in Burlington, Vermont.  The victim had been shot once in the chest, and stated that “Josh” had shot her.  “Josh” was determined to be Joshua Brissette, who stole his roommate’s car, drove to the victim’s location, and discharged multiple rounds in the direction of both the victim and her husband.  Brissette then fled the scene, and attempted to dispose of the firearm at a Winooski gas station.  The station clerk located the firearm, a Mossberg model MC1 9 mm pistol, and contacted the police.  A search of Brissette’s residence located an empty Mossberg pistol box, two empty boxes of ammunition, and receipts for the gun and ammunition.  A loaded pistol magazine was located in Brissette’s roommate’s car.

Brissette has five felony convictions, including a 2012 escape-from-furlough conviction and a 2016 felony conviction for Driving Under the Influence – Third.  In addition, Brissette was charged with felony aggravated domestic assault in 2016, which resulted in his conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence.  The victim of Brissette’s prior conviction for domestic violence was the same victim as the shooting on April 13, 2020.

If convicted, Brissette faces a maximum of ten years of imprisonment, which could be imposed to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed in the pending state case.  The actual sentence however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the investigative efforts of the Burlington Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  She stated:  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to show zero tolerance for domestic violence.  We will use our federal gun statutes to prevent these crimes and to bring justice to offenders.  We look forward to continued support of, and collaboration with, state prosecutors to combat domestic violence in Vermont.” 

The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller.  Defendant Brissette is not yet represented by counsel in the federal case. 

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting firearm use and possession crimes; prioritizes prosecuting persons who make false statements when attempting to obtain firearms; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concerning persons who attempt to obtain firearms illegally; coordinates responses to persons prevented from obtaining firearms for mental health reasons; and ensures the use of modern intelligence tools and technology to focus on the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. 

For more information, please see

Updated April 15, 2020

Project Guardian
Firearms Offenses