On Second Day Of School, Shots Ring Out In Providence, Killing 15-Year-Old Student

Sep 5, 2018

Just before the end of the school day Wednesday, the second day of a new school year, police were called to the Providence Career and Technical Academy High School.

Shots had been heard fired. It was a little before 2 p.m. 

By 4 p.m., Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements confirmed that a 15-year-old student had been shot and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said they were also investigating a second shooting that happened a little further away from the school.

In that shooting, another student had been injured, although not critically, police said, vowing to get to the bottom of both incidents.

"This afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. Providence Police responded to a call for shots fired at 41 Fricker Street, in front of Providence Career and Technical Academy," said a written statement from Chief Clements' office. "Upon arrival police observed a 15-year-old male subject on the ground suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Providence Fire responded to the scene and transported the victim to Hasbro Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead."

Police said they have  one person of interest in custody, but they were not ready to release the victim's name or any other details about the shooting.

"This incident has been turned over to Providence Police Detectives and is an active and open investigation," police said. 

The scene of the shooting, outside the city's career and technical high school, is right next to another high school, Central High School, where students had been dismissed at about 1:30 p.m.  On social media, students quickly identified the shooting victim as a student at Central. One student, who spoke to a reporter from RIPR at the scene, remembered him as "a good kid."

A third school, Classical High School, the city's high-achieving exam school, is right down the street. All three schools are located across the street from Providence's public school administration building.

Students at the Providence Career and Technical Academy and Classical High School were not scheduled for dismissal until 2:45 p.m. A spokeswoman for the school district, Laura Hart, said the students were escorted out through a backdoor after a brief lockdown.

Governor Gina Raimondo met with Providence Schools Superintendent Chris Maher at the scene of the deadly shooting late Wednesday afternoon then briefly addressed reporters.

"You know as a mother, this is every parent’s worst nightmare," said Raimondo. "It’s scary. So I wanted to be here to say to the folks on the scene, we’re with you, we’ll do anything we can to support you. We’ll make sure there are extra mental health counselors."

Maher and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza declined to speak with reporters. Elorza had been there earlier in the day. He spoke with police officers, then the city's police chief said, he believed the mayor headed to the hospital to be with the victims' families. 

The mayor's office issued a statement calling the shooting, "a devastating tragedy for the family and for our city."

"I am heartbroken for the family of the victim and for the students and adults who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy," Elorza said. "This type of violence will not be accepted in our city and we will come together as a community to support the victim's family."

By 7 p.m., Providence Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher put out this statement:

"All of us at Providence Public Schools are left grief-stricken by today’s events, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of this young man.

As a reassurance to our families, we will have an increased police presence at our high schools tomorrow. We are also deploying counseling and support services for both students and staff at schools impacted by this tragedy.

Lastly, I want to praise the compassion and professionalism of the Providence Police and emergency personnel, and personally thank our staff at the schools who worked together today to support our students in this difficult time."