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Gunman Kills Two, Then Self, Near Middlebury College

April 18, 1996

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) _ A woman shot to death near Middlebury College had once sought a protection order against the gunman, saying ``he wouldn’t give me up until I was dead.″ A relative of hers also was killed and another wounded before the gunman committed suicide.

The shooting spree Wednesday, at a low-income apartment complex about a mile from the campus, prompted the elite private school to keep students in their rooms for hours.

A nephew of the slain woman, Leonora Brace, said Richard Stevens’ threats against her were no secret.

``This guy was crazy,″ Danny Savo said. ``I mourn for the survivors down the road who are going to lose relatives because some nut like this has a gun.″

Stevens, a 44-year-old security guard from Rutland, apparently shot the 53-year-old woman through her apartment door as she tried to shut it on him, said Lt. Michael Bolduc. She died later at a hospital.

Stevens then shot her ex-husband, Robert Brace, 50, and her niece’s husband, David Lawrence, 52, as they returned to the woman’s apartment from a trip to the store.

Lawrence, a prison chaplain from Hague, N.Y., was found dead in the passenger seat of a pickup truck. Brace underwent surgery for wounds to the abdomen and shoulder and was listed today in serious condition.

The college locked all buildings and warned students to stay in their rooms for four hours until police determined that Stevens was indeed the shooter. His body was found with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol underneath him.

In her application last year for a protection order, Ms. Brace said Stevens slapped her so hard ``it brought tears to my eyes and gave me a headache.″

``He told me he wouldn’t give me up until I was dead,″ she wrote.

But she had the order against Stevens dropped in February, saying she no longer felt she was in danger.

Several other people in the apartment escaped the gunshots but two were treated at a hospital for injuries, including cuts from flying glass.

Stevens had been awaiting trial on the charge of reckless endangerment for firing a handgun in a bar in Rutland, about 30 miles south of Middlebury, said State’s Attorney John Quinn.

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