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Vermont homeless shelter resident attacks and kills staff member with axe, authorities say

By Sara Smart, CNN

A homeless shelter resident in Vermont attacked and killed a staff member at the shelter with an axe, according to police.

Zaaina Asra Zakirrah Mahvish-Jammeh, 38, attacked Leah Rosin-Pritchard, 36, Monday morning at a homeless shelter in the southern Vermont city of Brattleboro, according to an affidavit from the Brattleboro Police Department obtained by CNN affiliate WCAX. Brattleboro is about 125 miles south of Montpelier.

The shelter, the Morningside House, is owned by Groundworks Collaborative, an organization that works at “creating solutions to end hunger and homelessness,” according to the group’s website.

Groundworks’ staff told police Mahvish-Jammeh was a resident of the building and she requested to speak to Rosin-Pritchard, a worker at the facility, Monday morning, the affidavit says. Mahvish-Jammeh then attacked the worker with an axe she bought from a local hardware store two days prior, authorities say in the affidavit.

Rosin-Pritchard had significant injuries to her face, neck and torso, according to the affidavit, and was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident was captured on surveillance camera and witnessed by other staff members, the affidavit says.

The facility called Rosin-Pritchard irreplaceable and described her as a “strong, positive, beautiful and compassionate person” in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“There are no words to express the depth of loss felt by her Groundworks teammates and residents,” the post reads in part, “Our hearts go out to her family, friends and the broader Brattleboro community who knew her.”

Mahvish-Jammeh pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder, according to CNN affiliate WPTZ. If convicted, she faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole, according to court documents.

CNN has reached out to Mahvish-Jammeh’s attorney for comment.

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