Schryver fails at freedom 18 years after Old Lyme standoff, courthouse gun incident

January 31, 2019
Van C. Schryver

Van C. Schryver, who infamously engaged state police in an armed standoff at the Florence Griswold Museum 18 years ago, then threatened court staff a day later with a gun he pulled out of his size 14 sneaker, did not do well, by his own admission, after being released from prison last year.

“I lost it,” he said during an appearance Thursday in New London Superior Court, where he is charged with violation of probation.

Schryver is back in prison, which he had entered at age 18 and left at 36, serving a total of 18 years for shooting at state troopers and engaging them in a five-hour standoff inside the Old Lyme art museum and threatening judicial marshals with a 9 mm pistol he had smuggled into the courthouse.

He had pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree assault, carrying a pistol without a permit and first-degree reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, suspended after 18 years, followed by five years probation.

Within three months of his release in April 2018, Schryver’s probation officer was writing out a warrant alleging Schryver had missed mental health appointments, failed to show up for drug testing, been discharged from group therapy for disruptive and sexually inappropriate behavior and tested positive for alcohol. He absconded from a Bridgeport halfway house, lied about obtaining a job at a corner store and left for parts unknown without notifying his probation officer, according to the warrant, which was signed by a state Superior Court judge on June 27, 2018.

Schryver turned up in Brattleboro, Vt., on June 30, where the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper reported he was charged with forcing his roommates to strip and pointing a gun at them over the alleged theft of 5,000 in donations to open a tattoo business.

Schryver told the judge he liked his probation officer but she had wanted him to go on psychiatric probation, which he thought would be harder.

“I wanted to pretend everything was fine,” Schryver said.

The judge denied his request to be considered for the diversionary program, and the discussion returned to how he would perform when he eventually is released again.

“I will concede Mr. Schryver makes some good points,” said Tytla, the prosecutor. “He said a psychiatric probation would be more difficult. But there’s a reason for that.”

Schryver’s next court date is March 12, when the officials indicated he might resolve his case. In the meantime, he is being held at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in lieu of a $200,000 cash or surety bond.


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