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University Of Vermont Student Gunned Down By Man With AR-15 In Alleged Murder-Suicide

Kayla Noonan, a student at the University of Vermont, and another women were both allegedly shot by a man they knew, Mikal Dixon, who then turned his AR-15 rifle on himself.

By Dorian Geiger
A personal photo of Kayla Noonan

A University of Vermont student was shot and killed and another woman was injured by a man who broke in with an AR-15 rifle and then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.

Mikal Dixon, 27, allegedly shot and killed Kayla Noonan, 22, and another 22-year-old woman before turning the short-barrel rifle on himself, according to the Burlington Police Department. The other woman survived the shooting but remains hospitalized.

Emergency dispatchers received several calls about reports of gunfire on North Winooski Avenue — about a mile northwest of campus — on July 25 at around 2:20 a.m., according to a Burlington Police Department press release. Upon arrival, officers made contact with and spoke to one of the two shooting victims, who was on the phone with emergency dispatchers but too severely injured to come to the door.

Police ultimately broke a window in order to gain access to the dwelling. Once inside the apartment, officers found both Noonan and Dixon dead from apparent gunshot wounds. An AR-15 rifle was recovered from the scene. 

The other shooting victim had been shot twice and was “very close to death,” by the time officers gained entry to the apartment, police said. The woman, identified only as “C.R.,” was rushed to hospital in critical condition. Her condition has since stabilized, according to officials.

“Officers cleared that scene so that other first responders could work and members of the Burlington Police Department and the Burlington Fire Department saved C.R.’s life,” Acting Police Chief Jon Murad said at a press conference on Monday. “C.R. is alive today because of the work that was done by these cops and the way that we train with our rescue partners for critical incidents like this.”

Authorities believe that Dixon attempted to break down a door to the apartment in which Noonan and the second victim were staying but failed.

“We believe that Mr. Dixon attempted to break down a door,” Murad said. “He was unable to get through that door and broke through a window instead and he possessed an AR-15 rifle at the time. He shot and killed Miss Noonan. He shot and wounded C.R. and then he shot and killed himself.”

Murad described the deadly shooting as a “horrific” and a “horrible crime.” The acting chief said it appeared Dixon had obtained the firearm legally, despite a history of low-level criminal offenses including retail theft and tresspassing.

Noonan and Dixon — who had also attended the school — had a relationship dating back a number of years, he said, but the exact nature of their relationship is unclear. Dixon also knew the second shooting victim.

“This murder and attempted murder of two young women was a terrible act of violence, among the very worst the city has seen in the last decade,” Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger also said at the press conference.

The incident marked the eighth shooting in Burlington so far in 2022. 

“The lives of these three families has been forever changed by this tragedy,” Weinberger added. “This incident is another awful reminder that Burlington is not immune to the steep increases in gun violence the country is experiencing and that as a result of our disastrous gun laws Americans are vastly more likely to endure a terrible tragedy like this.”

Noonan was a rising senior at the University of Vermont, according to a spokesperson for the university. She majored in community entrepreneurship and minored in sociology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is from Landing, New Jersey.

“Our community is reeling from the shock of this tragedy,” Vice Provost for Student Affairs Erica Caloiera said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. “It will take some time for us to process and grieve this tremendous loss. And our hearts go out to the families and the loved ones of the students involved.”

Caloiera also described Noonan as an “immensely vibrant and strong woman” with a “contagious laugh and smile.”

Dixon, who was from New Hampshire, grew up in the Burlington area, officials said, and attended Burlington High School. He had also been a University of Vermont student.

No further information was released by authorities regarding the apparent murder-suicide this week. The Vermont State Police and the University of Vermont Police Department are also assisting local law enforcement in the apparent murder-suicide investigation.

A spokesperson for the Burlington Police Department wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday morning.

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