PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS/AP) — Police are probing a deadly shootout that left a man dead and a woman critically injured following a police chase on Interstate 95 near Providence Place.
Cell phone video captured the moment police opened fire on a white pickup truck they had chased onto an I-95 north on-ramp. Police said the incident was unrelated to an earlier incident when a man stole a state police cruiser.
Police said several officers were chasing the white truck with two people inside when the shooting happened around 10:45 a.m. Thursday on a stretch of the interstate that skirts the city’s downtown and the Providence Place mall.
“We’re investigating the purpose of why this individual did not stop, and why police officers had to use deadly force,” said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Pare at the scene of the shooting on Thursday.
The white truck was riddled with bullet holes. Inside, an unidentified man was shot and killed and a woman was critically injured.
When gunshots rang out, witnesses nearby weren’t sure if they should run for cover.
“We heard the firing. We thought it was coming (from) across the street,” said Charles Laurie. “And then we looked up and we saw everybody shooting up there.”
“I just saw them running up to the truck and then they were shooting,” said Susan Lusignan. “It almost looked like the truck was trying to move, and they backed up and then they started shooting at it again, when it started spinning tires, like it was trying to move, and there was a bunch of white smoke coming out.”
Police said the man shot and killed by police on I-95 is not the suspect in an earlier incident where a man stole a state police cruiser.
Donald Morgan, who police said stole the cruiser, remains at large. He is 35-years-old and has no known address.
The shootout came less than two hours after Morgan, who was being taken to court, was left in a state police cruiser alone and stole it, driving it to a Providence neighborhood and abandoning it. Initially, police said the shooting and theft were related, but said they that were still investigating the extent of the connection Thursday afternoon.
While searching for Morgan, police received a bulletin that he may be hiding in the back of a pickup truck.
Police released few details of the cruiser 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.
According to State Police Col. Ann Assumpico, Morgan 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.”
A woman in the truck was injured and taken to Rhode Island Hospital in serious condition, 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.
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.
No police officers were injured. Pare said they have not positively identified the person killed.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)