Police: Neighborhood dispute prompted deadly shooting

Candles are lit in memory of Mackenzie Irons, who was fatally shot at the corner of June and Donelson Streets in Providence. (Photo: Steph Machado | WPRI 12)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence Police are still searching for the person who shot and killed a 34-year-old man near the Chad Brown housing complex Monday night in what was the city’s fifth homicide of the year.

Major David Lapatin said Tuesday the shooting was not gang-related, instead appearing to have resulted from a neighborhood dispute.

Police said the shooting happened just minutes before 9 p.m. at the corner of June and Donelson Streets. When officers arrived on scene, they found Mackenzie Irons, 34, of Providence, lying on a driveway with a gunshot wound.

He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m.

Irons had survived a previous shooting more than a decade ago in the same neighborhood, according to police. A police report from 2004 says Irons was shot in the leg by a drive-by shooter while sitting in a car on June Street.

Donelson Street shooting scene (Photo: Caroline Goggin | WPRI 12)

Lapatin said Irons was the intended target of Monday night’s shooting, although he wasn’t initially part of the dispute.

Lapatin characterized it as “some sort of argument or exchange between two different people that were known to the victim and shooter.”

Irons eventually did get involved as the dispute escalated, Lapatin said.

Police do not have any suspects in custody.

Tuesday afternoon, friends were placing candles on the spot where Irons was killed. Multiple friends told Eyewitness News that he was a good father and lived nearby.

“It shouldn’t have to go there,” said Lynne Benson, who lives across the street from the scene of the murder. She arrived home to the scene Monday night. “I started crying before I even got to the house.”

Benson said there have been multiple shootings in the Chad Brown area since she’s lived there, but also said there are many good people in the community.

“Do I wish I had enough money to move out and go to a better place? Yes,” she said. “But then again like I said, there’s a lot of good people here.”