On Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, a man shot and killed two people and injured a third person in a neighborhood off Simmonsville Avenue in Johnston, Rhode Island. The suspect then fled the scene and was pursued by police until he was fatally shot by officers on the I-295 on-ramp on Plainfield Street.
This was a shocking and tragic incident that shook the community and raised many questions. What was the motive behind the shooting? How did the police handle the situation? Who were the victims and how are they related to the suspect? In this blog post, we will try to answer these questions and provide you with the latest information on this developing story.
According to the Johnston Police Department, the shooting was a result of a domestic and neighborhood dispute. The suspect, identified as James Harrison of 4 Ligian Court, had a history of conflicts with his neighbors and family members.
Police say Harrison fatally shot an adult at his residence, then went across the street and fatally shot another adult at 2 Ligian Court. He also injured a juvenile girl who was inside the second house. The identities of the victims have not been released yet, but police say they were related to Harrison.
It is not clear what triggered Harrison to go on a shooting rampage, but neighbors reported hearing loud arguments and gunshots around 7:30 a.m. Some witnesses said Harrison was yelling about his property line and accusing his neighbors of trespassing.
The Police Response
As soon as the police received multiple 911 calls about the shooting, they dispatched several units to the scene. They found two victims dead at the scene and one victim injured. They also learned that the suspect had fled in a silver SUV.
An off-duty officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle and reported it to the police. A chase ensued, involving officers from Johnston, Cranston, and state police. The chase ended on the I-295 on-ramp on Plainfield Street, where Harrison crashed his vehicle into a guardrail.
Police say Harrison got out of his vehicle and pointed a gun at them. The officers fired multiple shots at him, hitting him several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured in the exchange of gunfire.
The police recovered a handgun from Harrison’s vehicle and another handgun from his residence. They are investigating whether he had any other weapons or accomplices.
The shooting has left a lasting impact on the community of Johnston, which is a small town of about 30,000 people. Residents expressed shock and sadness over the loss of life and violence in their neighborhood.
The mayor of Johnston, Joseph Polisena Jr., issued a statement on social media, saying he was informed of the shooting and that the suspect had been apprehended. He also said he was working with state and local officials to provide support and resources to the victims’ families and the community.
The governor of Rhode Island, Daniel McKee, also issued a statement, condemning the shooting as a “senseless act of violence” and offering his condolences to the families of the victims. He said he was grateful for the swift and courageous response of law enforcement officers who prevented further harm.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, as police are trying to piece together the details of what happened and why. They are asking anyone with information or video footage of the incident to contact them.
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