EAST PROVIDENCE — Officers from the East Providence Police Department endeavored on an epic chase, mid-afternoon Friday, Dec. 1, of a shooting suspect who left a trail of destruction before …
EAST PROVIDENCE — Officers from the East Providence Police Department endeavored on an epic chase, mid-afternoon Friday, Dec. 1, of a shooting suspect who left a trail of destruction before being apprehended right around 3 p.m.
According to preliminary reports from some of the officers involved in the incident, police received a call of shots fired at a residence believed to be on Estrelle Drive in Riverside, the south end of the city. The event is alleged to have started as a dispute between the shooter and another person.
Officers picked up pursuit of an adult male, who led them on a chase into the Kent Heights neighborhood then farther north towards the center of the city before ending at Taunton Avenue.
He was caught shortly after departing the Kent Heights area, but not before two officers involved in the chase crashed their vehicles into a house at the corner of Gardiner Avenue and Dover Avenue.
The patrol officer driving a marked cruiser made a considerable hit, appearing to total the vehicle. He was later taken to hospital for evaluation.
The airbags in the vehicle driven by the other officer, in an unmarked car, engaged. He had no apparent injuries, remained on the scene and was contributing to the investigation.
Another of the officers at the Gardner-Dover location said the suspect caused two other accidents during the pursuit. One took place at the intersection of Waterman and Pawtucket Avenues while the other occurred at Taunton Avenue and Pawtucket, which is where the suspect was finally nabbed.
Some of the victims of the accidents were injured, though none was believed to be serious in nature.
Initial reports were upwards of 1,000 rounds of ammunition were scattered upon the suspect's vehicle after being caught.
Adding to the calamity of the situation, the suspect was discharging at least one firearm during the chase. Shell casings were dropped all throughout the pursuit route.
The suspect was also believed to have discarded a rifle somewhere along the way. Police were actively attempting to recover the firearm before being alerted by a resident in the Kent Heights area of the its location.
Teagan Abatiello, a resident of Gardiner Avenue and senior at East Providence High School, was just returning home from classes when the accident across the street occurred. She said she and her mother both heard a noise at the same time, but weren't quite sure what it was.
"It didn't sound like a crash. It sounded more like a truck going over a big bump," Abatiello, a senior and member of the EPHS champion girls' volleyball team, said. "I was the first one over there. I wanted to make sure everyone was OK."
Of the condition of the officers involved in the crash, she said, "They had both just gotten out of their cars. And they were just talking to figure things out," adding of the patrolman taken to hospital, "I had a feeling he wasn't OK. He was kind of woosy, but he was also worried about what just happened."
The home in which the officers crashed is owned by Brad Rainey and his wife, who was in the residence at the time. He said she was instantly aware of the impact.
Rainey explained, "I got this text from my wife...'Hey, two cars just crashed into the house. I need you home immediately.'...She felt the noise, the dogs and cats went crazy and I just came home to what you see here."
Representatives from Rhode Island Energy and the East Providence Building Department evaluated the condition of the house, which seemed to be undamaged from the incident.
Later, EPPD Chief Chris Francesconi told the assembled media, "We're just starting this investigation. We have a ways to go. We need to find out what this person was up to, what they were up to with this amount of ammunition, where they were earlier in the day, where they were going."