PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A police manhunt for a Providence man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s mother in the back has ended. Authorities have confirmed that the FBI have arrested Francisco Diaz in the Bronx, New York.
The manhunt had been underway for more than 24 hours for the 32-year-old, who was considered armed and dangerous. Police had even placed the victim’s family in protective custody during the search.
Diaz is accused of shooting 54-year-old Theodora Nunez in the back during a domestic altercation at Nunez’s Oxford Street home. Police said Diaz had fled the scene on Wednesday in a blue Lexus with the Rhode Island license plate number 477113.
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According to police, the shooting stemmed from a conversation Diaz was having with the victim’s 25-year-old daughter, Jessica Nunez. Police said Diaz and the younger Nunez had a previous relationship and have a child together.
“We’re close-knit, and we would have never suspected that he would’ve actually done something like this,” Jessica said. “He already had the weapon on him, there was like no going back to what he was thinking. We went into the hallway, I started begging him not to do whatever he was going to do.”
Providence Police Commander Thomas Oates said Diaz allegedly threatened to “hurt someone in [Jessica Nunez’s] family.”
Minutes later, police said Theodora Nunez exited a bedroom in the house and Diaz fired two gunshots, one of which struck her in the back.
Police are still working to determine if Diaz intended to shoot Theodora Nunez. Jessica
“I struggled with him and the revolver locked,” said Jessica. “At one point all I remember is I was just on the floor, on my knees, and my mother, I had seen that she was bleeding.”
Nunez was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital in critical condition.
As the manhunt continued late into Thursday night, Teny Gross – the chief officer of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence and a prominent face in the ongoing effort to spread messages of peace across the capital city – said his experience leads him to believe Diaz was hiding out in a familiar place.
“What happens in the movies where you walk into an airplane and buy a ticket to Mongolia and you’re gone… that’s not an option for the people we work with,” Gross said. “They’re going to go to a few places that are willing to help them.”
Police have not yet confirmed where Diaz was when he was taken into custody.