Public Safety

Burlington man charged in downtown stabbing death

A memorial to murder victim Abubakar Sharrif sits outside Piesanos in Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

A Burlington man has been charged in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Abubakar Sharrif, the Burlington Police Department said in a press release Thursday night.

Von “Red” Simmonds, 40, was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with second-degree murder, police said. He is being held without bail at Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. Simmonds is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday at the Chittenden County Superior Courthouse.

Shariff’s death was Burlington’s fifth homicide this year. Police have said that Sharrif was stabbed early Sunday morning during a fight at Piesanos Burlington, a restaurant near the intersection of Main and Church streets.

Police had not previously named a suspect. On Monday, Acting Police Chief Jon Murad told VTDigger his department was working to identify all participants in the fight. In Thursday’s press release, Murad said the department had landed on Simmonds as the alleged culprit following “extensive investigatory work, including interviews and evidentiary review.” 

Simmonds was convicted in 2014 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, or crack cocaine, in Rutland, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont. In 2018, while he was on federal supervised release from that conviction, Simmonds was charged with the sale and possession of cocaine, Burlington police said at the time.

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Jeralyn Darling

About Jeralyn

As VTDigger's news editor, Jeralyn Darling anchors the night desk, often as the final set of eyes on stories before they are published. Before arriving at VTDigger she was a night desk editor at the Valley News, covering the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. Jeralyn has spent the last 14 years as a journalist. She holds a BA in journalism and sociology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. When not at work, Jeralyn can be found on the trail with her husband, in the woods hunting mushrooms or volunteering with animals.


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