PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police are investigating after two separate shootings Thursday night sent several people to the hospital.
The first shooting happened outside of a store on Douglas Avenue.
Eyewitness News was on the scene as investigators tried to piece together the shooting.
According to Maj. David Lapatin of the Providence Police Department, the shooting stemmed from an attempted robbery at 4zero1, a clothing and cellphone shop.
“We believe that this store was targeted,” he said.
Lapatin said a clerk inside the store was hit in the face and robbed by three men. He said the store’s owner and his uncle were outside watching surveillance video remotely on their cell phones. According to Lapatin, when they confronted the three men, one fired a gun. Dennis McGovern, the owner’s uncle, was struck twice.
Lapatin said police are not sure if the store was the target – or the owner was.
A bullet hole in the store’s front door was covered with tape Friday morning.
Police are still looking for the suspects.
Several hours later, three people were injured in another shooting.
Police said three men left a party in a car and drove to a home on Hymer Street.
According to police, one of the people got out of the car and walked into the house. Moments later, he ran back to the car because he had been shot.
One of the victims told police the shooter chased the first victim, firing at the car and hitting all three of the men.
The victims were all seriously injured but will survive, according to police.
“Last night it was unfortunate. We had a lot of gunfire in two places in the city and were very fortunate no one lost their lives last night,” Lapatin said.
Several of the victims from both shootings are recovering at Rhode Island Hospital.
Call for action
After Thursday’s string of violent activity in the capital city, City Councilman David Salvatore says his ward has become a hotspot for activity.
According to the councilman, he is worried the violence is casting a shadow of fear in the neighborhood.
“Last night’s two incidents demonstrate that we need stronger police presence in the Wanskuck neighborhood,” Salvatore said. “I’m calling on the Providence Police Department and the city’s administration to address the concerns of the residents – the families who live here.”
Earlier this month, a pizza delivery man was robbed at gunpoint and another man as shot in the leg – all in the Wanskuck section of town.
“Every time a gun shot is fired in any of our neighborhoods across our city, fear is instilled in our residents,” Salvatore said. “Families are put in harm’s way.”
Salvatore said he thinks an increased police presence will help reduce crime in the area.
“I think it sends a message to the whole city that we need a stronger police presence in all of our neighborhoods,” he said.
Police said Friday they hope to have new leads in their investigations by the end of the day.