PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WHDH/AP) — Police on Friday released highway surveillance footage of the moments leading up to a deadly shooting involving officers on a busy stretch of Interstate 95 in Providence.
The Department of Transportation video shows a driver racing in a white truck down a highway Thursday around 10:45 a.m. as he tried to elude police cars then repeatedly ramming a woman’s car as officers jumped out of the way.
Providence police identified the dead man as 32-year-old Joseph Santos and the injured passenger as Christine Demers.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says there was an imminent threat to officers’ safety.
Pare defended the use of deadly force, saying the officers’ actions were justified.
“This is very difficult when you have to use deadly force. Unfortunately, those officers that you see on the video believed that there was imminent danger of serious injury or death. They are trained that way and as a result used deadly force,” Pare said.
Pare said all of the officers have been placed on administrative leave, protocol in any officer-involved shooting. The incident will be reviewed by a grand jury at a later date.
Authorities said no weapons were found in the vehicle.
Officials say Providence and state police fired 40 rounds total. Authorities say five Providence officers fired their weapons; they didn’t say how many state police officers fired.
Santos was not the suspect in the theft of a state police cruiser that happened before the shooting around 9 a.m.
Demers, who was shot in the liver, remains hospitalized but is expected to be OK. Her friend Tammy Sarandrea visited her and said she is lucky to be alive.
“She’s lucky to be alive. The way the truck was shot, they didn’t have any weapons, it’s incredible that the damage was done to that vehicle,” said Sarandrea.
Sarandrea believes Santos panicked because he had warrants out for his arrest.
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