The driver of a suspicious vehicle that was seen on Oakland Beach Avenue around 12:45 p.m. on Monday took off when a Warwick Police officer attempted to pull him over.
Col. Stephen McCartney said the first officer ran the plate and learned it was connected to a parole violator from North Providence who was wanted in connection with a murder in California.
“She immediately called for more officers and was following the pickup on West Shore Road when officers surrounded the car near the Lockwood Apartments,” said McCartney. “They asked him to give up and, in response, he gunned the motor and hit a police car and continued onto Post Road and then down side streets to the other side of Apponaug Cove on Arnold’s Neck. He then got out of the truck and ran along the railroad bridge until officers coming in the other direction confronted him. He was asked again to give himself up, but he had a gun and he chose to fire at the officers, who returned the fire.”
McCartney said the suspect went down but no officers were hurt.
“He’s currently at Rhode Island Hospital in critical condition, I’m told,” said McCartney, shortly after the confrontation on the tracks. “We are all very grateful that none of our officers, or anyone else, was hurt.”
Kenneth Cunningham, 39, with a local address in North Providence, will face a number of new felony charges relating to the incident. McCartney said the Rhode Island State Police, as a matter of routine, are investigating the shooting, “as they do whenever a police officer is involved in a shooting.”
An employee of Twin Shellfish on Harrop Avenue said he saw the drama unfolding as he watched a white man and police running on the tracks just before the shooting started.
“It was pretty hairy,” said Tim McGiveney. “We were watching from behind a truck, over there, [he pointed to the rear of the lot]. We saw him up on the tracks with a red shirt in one hand – he was shirtless – and something else in the other, which must have been the gun. We heard lots of shots and then one very loud one, which must have been a shotgun, just before it stopped.”
Mayor Scott Avedisian was on the scene, just “expressing my confidence in my police chief and my officers,” he said. “Thank God no one else was hurt.”