Michael Sumner’s silver SUV

Michael Sumner’s silver SUV sits between two cruisers following his attempt to flee the scene.

Michael Sumner

Michael Sumner

A Burlington man has been charged with luring a child, as well as multiple counts of assault on a police officer, following an altercation with South Burlington Police and state investigators this morning.

Michael Sumner, 33, is in custody at the South Burlington Police Department where he will await arraignment.

South Burlington Police officers, accompanied by detectives from the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, attempted to locate Sumner about 10 a.m. Friday.  Sumner had been in communication since early June with an individual he believed to be a minor, officials said. They said Sumner had arranged for the minor to meet him in South Burlington and engage in a sexual act.

The minor was actually a South Burlington Police officer acting undercover for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

When Sumner arrived at the rendezvous point in his silver SUV, several marked patrol cars approached his vehicle to detain him. Sumner then drove his SUV into the patrol cars to try to flee the parking area. He nearly missed the officers, who were standing near their vehicles attempting to detain him.

Sumner continued to drive towards the exit where he collided with another South Burlington Police cruiser. Police Chief Shawn Burke said Sumner refused to exit his SUV. Officers then used batons to smash his window. A Taser was activated in an effort to subdue Sumner, but proved ineffective, Burke said. He said officers had to extricate Sumner and subdue him.

Sumner, along with five officers, were taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center where they were treated for injuries including bruises and minor lacerations, Burke said.

Sumner was ordered held without bail by the Honorable Judge Fenster late Friday afternoon. Sumner will be arraigned and formally charged Monday, July 1 in Chittenden Superior Court, Criminal Division. 

Police are uncertain if this is the first time Sumner has attempted to lure a child. Burke said determining his criminal history – if he has one – will be a “focal point” of the investigation.

As for police response, Burke said he is “eager to do a fulsome review” of the altercation to determine what went well and what did not go as planned.

“You can never predict what a person is going to do,” he said. “These are rare circumstances where a suspect is using his vehicle to smash police cruisers and try to escape.”

Four police cruisers – three from South Burlington and one from the state – were damaged in the incident. The department anticipates damages to total “thousands of dollars,” Burke said, adding, “vehicles can be replaced, cops can’t.”

There is no current threat from Sumner, Burke said. The investigation will continue, and more information will be released when it becomes available.

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