Courts & Corrections

UPDATED: Man held in fatal cleaver attack on relatives in Burlington

Burlington police
Burlington police released this photo when announcing they were investigating an attack with a cleaver Thursday on Hyde Street.

(This story was updated Oct. 12 at 9:05 p.m.)

A 34-year-old Burlington man killed his wife with a meat cleaver Thursday and injured her mother, according to police.

Aita Gurung was arrested in connection with the slaying of his wife, Yogeswari Khadka, 32, the Burlington Police Department said Thursday evening. The victim suffered blows to her hands, arms and skull.

In a statement earlier Thursday, police had said another female relative of the attacker was listed in critical condition after being taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center.

In the update, police identified the other relative as Gurung’s mother-in-law, 54-year-old Thulsa Rimal. They said she was in critical but stable condition at the hospital with severe injuries to her head.

Gurung had been released from the University of Vermont Medical Center earlier Thursday, according to police. On Oct. 7 he had “sought police attention for mental health issues and concerns about his deteriorating relationship with his wife,” police said.

First responders took him to the UVM Medical Center at that time. According to police, his father-in-law said Gurung had been voluntarily admitted for a mental health evaluation. Police said Gurung was released Thursday at his request.

Police described their prior contact with the suspect as limited.

The attack is believed to have begun about 2:30 p.m. in the kitchen of a home at 72 Hyde St. and spilled out into the street, police said. Neighbors tried to intervene but were worried about being attacked themselves.

One witness with a firearm kept Gurung at bay briefly, police said, and officers using a ballistic shield as cover took the suspect into custody.

The couple’s 8-year-old child was at school at the time of the attack and was unhurt, police said. They said the daughter was in the care of a grandfather.

The motive for the attack was under investigation.

“No other persons are wanted at this time,” Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said in the initial statement.

Authorities initially withheld the names and relationships of those involved “pending notifications (of family) and further investigation.”

Del Pozo added: “The incident does not indicate any ongoing public safety risk to the community.”

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