Cops seek suspect in Providence shooting

Ernesto Vargas

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police said a 30-year-old man was shot several times in his driveway early Friday after a disturbance with another person.

Police said the call came in at about 8:20 a.m. for a report of a shooting on Health Avenue.

The suspect ran away right after firing multiple rounds, according to police. Officials said a warrant has been issued for Ernesto “Tito” Vargas, who is wanted for felony assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime.

“We believe they know each other,” said Deputy Chief Thomas Oates. “What that relationship is at this point, I’m not sure.”

Ernesto Vargas
Ernesto Vargas

After being shot, the victim went back to a second-floor apartment and remained there until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he’s now listed in critical condition.

Police said the victim has been identified as Adrian Aponte – and he was arrested for another shooting on the same street back in August.

During that shooting, police said three children were in Aponte’s home at the time, and several others were in another home across the street. No one was hurt.

Police said shell casings were observed in the driveway and garage of the home during an investigation into Friday’s shooting.

The shooting comes less than a day after Mayor Jorge Elorza’s Advisory Council to Reduce Gun Violence held its first meeting. Elorza toured the scene, calling the issue “tremendously important” and vowing to catch the suspect.

There is no word on the legal status of the weapon used in the shooting – but police report that, as of late November, 32 of 192 guns seized in the city were stolen. About 19 firearms had obliterated serial numbers.

“A lot of illegal guns make their way into Providence and into Rhode Island from down south, and also from the north,” Elorza said. “So we’re going to make sure that we work regionally to make sure that we put a stop to this as much as possible.”

Anyone with information on Vargas’ location should contact Providence police.

Annie Shalvey contributed to this report. 

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