State police colonel rendered aid to shooting victim

Rhode Island police defend use of force in deadly shooting of pickup truck driver	Email

Rhode Island police defend use of force in deadly shooting of pickup truck driver Email

"Joe Santos was very close to Donny from the Codac, and they were very close", said Priscilla Almeida, who claimed she was Donald Morgan's ex-girlfriend outside 6th Division District Court in Providence, where Morgan, 35, was ordered held as a bail violator.

"The two knew each other but beyond that I am not sure what their exact relationship was", a Providence Police spokesperson told WBZ-TV.

Police say Joseph Santos, 32, tried to speed away from officers Thursday but got caught in traffic and repeatedly rammed another auto in front of him as officers jumped out of the way. The driver of the truck - Joseph Santos - was killed in a hail of gunfire from Providence police officers and state troopers.

Officers tried to stop Santos' truck as part of the search for Morgan, leading to the chase that ended in Santos' death.

Officers said they fired on him because he was using his vehicle as a unsafe weapon, and they feared for the lives of nearby drivers as well as their own.

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- A Rhode Island man accused of stealing a state police cruiser while in custody is facing charges. Morgan, who had been charged with obstruction and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, was handcuffed and being taken to court by a trooper identified Tuesday as Michael J. Doherty. The cruiser was later found abandoned.

During the manhunt for Morgan, investigators received a tip that a man matching Morgan's description entered a white pickup truck-like the one Santos was later seen driving erratically.

The ACLU of Rhode Island is questioning whether the chase and use of force were justified, why more body cameras weren't activated and why state police haven't released the involved troopers' names. The officers fired a total of 23 shots in the incident, and the four have been placed on administrative leave.

In a statement, State Police Superintendent Colonel Ann Assumpico announced that partitions will be installed as soon as possible in all marked state police cruisers.

Both Providence and State Police said the results of their investigations would be turned over to the Attorney General's office for presentation to a grand jury, which is the protocol for all officer-involved shootings.

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