Providence police identify suspects in officer-involved shooting

Two people were sent to the hospital following an officer-involved shooting in Providence Friday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A “be on the lookout” call for a pair of suspects connected to a possible homicide in Bristol resulted in an officer-involved shooting in Providence that sent two people to the hospital.

Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh Clements said the pair of suspects, identified as Raymond Paiva, 24, and his girlfriend, Selena Martinez, 21, were being sought by police Friday night in connection with the death of Paiva’s grandmother in Bristol.

Police were able to track the couple’s phone to an area in Providence, and when officers responded, the pair gave chase, leading police on a brief pursuit, according to Clements. The pursuit came to an end around 10 p.m. Friday, when Paiva lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a snow bank on Branch Avenue.

Clements said the two officers, Sergeant Curt Desautels, a 20-year veteran of the force, and Officer Taylor Brito, a 10-year veteran, perceived a threat when approaching the suspects’ vehicle and opened fire. Clements said both officers fired multiple gunshots into the suspects’ car. Paiva was struck multiple times and was critically wounded. Clements said Martinez may have also been struck; she was taken to the hospital and was treated and released into police custody. As of Saturday evening, Paiva remained hospitalized.

Clements said Paiva and Martinez were unarmed at the time of the shooting; he would not elaborate on the “perceived threat” described by Desautels and Brito, saying only it’s part of their investigation.

“You have to understand that police officers work on limited information and things happen in a flash, and they have to make split second decisions,” said Clements. “We are satisfied that they acted within protocol and policy, and support what they had to do.”

According to reports, this is not the first nor the second time Desautels has discharged his weapon at a suspect. The Providence Journal reports Desautels shot a man who was allegedly pointing a gun at him in 2004, and in 2013, he shot a 24-year-old man who later pleaded guilty to firing his gun at Desautels. Desautels’ actions were found to be legally justified in both cases.

When asked about Desautels’ connection with three officer-involved shootings, Clements pointed to the sergeant’s numerous years with the department’s Violent Crimes Task Force, saying Desautels has made countless gun arrests, most without incident.

Clements was unable to offer further details on the possible homicide in Bristol, only calling it “disturbing and heinous.” Reached by phone Saturday night, Bristol police said the case was under investigation, but refused to provide further details.