PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WHDH) — A mid-morning chase and shootout involving several police officers on busy Interstate 95 in Providence left one person dead and one injured Thursday.
The shootout came less than two hours after a suspect being taken to court was left in a state police cruiser alone and stole it, driving it to a Providence neighborhood and abandoning it.
Police initially said the shooting and theft were related but then said later Thursday that the man who stole the police cruiser is not the same man who got into the shootout less than two hours later.
One man was killed and a woman was injured in the shootout that happened at around 10:45 a.m. Police have not identified them.
Police said several officers were chasing a white pickup truck with two people inside when. Police said once they got on the highway, they hit traffic and the pickup truck slammed into several other cars on the highway trying to back up and then pull forward out of the jam. The shooting happened when the driver tried to take off on the stretch of I-95 that skirts the city’s downtown and the Providence Place mall.
A woman in the truck was injured and taken to Rhode Island Hospital in serious condition, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said. Pare said they are reviewing footage from body cameras the responding officers were wearing. No officers were hurt.
“We are actively investigating all the circumstances. There are multiple officers involved in the shooting, and we have one person that is deceased,” said Pare.
Video posted online from witnesses show the driver of a white pickup trading gunfire with numerous police officers as it was trapped in by other cars. The truck sat riddled with bullets on the road Thursday afternoon as police swarmed over the highway looking for shell casings.
Senior prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office were also on scene, which is protocol for any officer-involved shooting, according to the office.
The cruiser was taken at around 9 a.m. Thursday during a traffic stop on Route 146, police said.
Authorities are still searching for Donald Morgan, who is wanted for stealing the cruiser, said State Police Col. Ann Assumpico. He was being transported to court and was left alone and handcuffed in the vehicle when the trooper stepped out to check on an accident, she said.
“I know the trooper did leave the vehicle for a short time,” she told reporters. “I want to sort through it. … You have to understand, when we come upon an accident on the highway, it is our duty to check on the welfare of the people.”
Morgan, a 35-year-old Providence resident, was arrested Wednesday on charges of obstruction and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, Assumpico said.
The cruiser was found within the hour abandoned in Providence after police tracked it there with the car’s GPS system but the thief was not located. Police launched a search throughout the neighborhood and were seen searching house-to-house with rifles and dogs.
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