WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The suspect in a police involved shooting is now recovering at Rhode Island Hospital, while being guarded by sheriff deputies on outstanding warrants.
Kenneth Cunningham, 39, is in critical condition after an incident that began in the Oakland Beach section of Warwick early Monday afternoon.
According to police, an officer spotted a suspicious car and ran the plates, revealing the car was linked to a suspect wanted in California. A spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Cunningham skipped out on his parole in December of 2013. He was sent to prison in 1997 on charges that included second-degree murder and second-degree robbery and burglary.
Police attempted to pull over the car, but Cunningham fled the scene and led police on brief chase before slamming into a cruiser.
Police said the suspect then took off on foot and led officers to Arnolds Neck Drive where he then fired shots at the officers. Cunningham was struck several times by return fire from police.
“They were telling the guy to put his hands down, drop the gun, put his hands up in the air, and they were shooting back and forth,” an eyewitness said.
Police said Cunningham will initially face three charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon, but said more charges could be filed soon.
The three officers that fired their weapons are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by Rhode Island State Police and the Attorney General’s Office.
In addition to the parole violation for murder in California, Warwick police said Cunningham is also wanted on a number warrants for crimes in Rhode Island.