A midmorning 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 said the shooting and theft were related, but said they were still investigating the extent of the connection Thursday afternoon.
Police said several officers were chasing a white pickup truck with two people inside when the shooting happened around 10:45 a.m. on a stretch of the interstate 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.
“We are actively investigating all the circumstances. There are multiple officers involved in the shooting, and we have one person that is deceased,” Pare said.
Witnesses told local news outlets they saw a shootout involving a white pickup and other vehicles. The truck sat riddled with bullets on the road Thursday afternoon as police swarmed over the highway looking for shell casings.
Pare said the shootout was related to the theft of a state police cruiser Thursday morning, but that authorities still were investigating the extent to which they were related.
Police released few details of the theft other than to say the cruiser was taken around 9 a.m. Thursday during a traffic stop on Route 146. It was found within the hour abandoned in Providence, but the thief was not located. Police launched a search throughout the neighborhood and were seen searching house-to-house with rifles and dogs.
After the shooting, State Police Col. Ann Assumpico revealed that the person who stole the cruiser was being transported to court and was left alone and handcuffed in the vehicle when the trooper stepped out to check on an accident.
“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. So once I get the full story, I will let you know.”
Emergency management officials asked people to avoid the area around the highway and mall. A robocall from an emergency alert service to downtown Providence offices told people to avoid the area.
“An incident occurred in the downtown Providence area. Multiple road closures and backups on 95,” It said.