A chaotic scene unfurled at the rear of the Providence Place Mall Thursday when a man was shot dead by police on the Route 95 north ramp. The incident occurred shortly before 11 a.m., though both Providence and State police were on the scene hours after the shooting, huddling beside a bullet-ridden white Ford pickup truck.
At a press conference held on the ramp, Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Pare said police were investigating why the driver was driving erratically and why police were required to use deadly force to stop the car. He added that there was a woman in the passenger seat of the vehicle who had been taken to the hospital and that police were investigating her involvement in the matter.
Multiple videos of the incident on social media show numerous officers slowly approaching the vehicle before shots ring out. Media reports have been conflicting in regards to whether or not shots were fired from inside the vehicle before officers moved in.
The shootout was ultimately proven to be unrelated to the theft of a state police cruiser that occurred earlier Thursday. That incident involved Donald Morgan, a Providence resident who was getting transported in the cruiser to a court appearance after he was arrested and charged with obstruction and possession of a stolen motor vehicle Wednesday, State Police Col. Ann Assumpico said in a press conference.
At around 9:00 a.m. Morgan commandeered the cruiser while its officer exited to examine a car crash, Assumpico said.
She did not say how he was able to gain control of the vehicle, but did confirm that he had been in handcuffs at the time.
According to a Rhode Island State Police news brief released Thursday, the cruiser had been abandoned in Providence and was recovered shortly after the incident, though Morgan was still at large.
Assumpico hesitated when asked by a reporter whether or not Morgan should be considered dangerous. “We’re still looking into his history, but we definitely want him,” she said.