PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The man who was shot and killed by police Thursday morning on the I-95 North on-ramp near the Providence Place mall has been identified as 32-year-old Joseph Santos.
During an afternoon press conference, Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements said Santos was shot “a couple of times” and died at the scene. A passenger in his vehicle, Christine Demers, 37, was also shot and is currently at Rhode Island Hospital.
Mike Murray, a friend of Santos, said he is not a violent person.
“He’d give you his last breath. He would,” Murray said.
In the video below, watch the interview with Murray about the death of his friend.
Clements said five Providence officers fired their weapons during the incident: Major Oscar Perez, Sgt. Gregory Paolo, Officer Matthew McGloin, Officer Thomas Zincone and Officer Christopher Ziroli. State police spokesperson Laura Meade Kirk declined to identify the troopers involved and provide information on their role in the shooting in an email to Eyewitness News on Friday.
The shooting came after a chase on Route 10 that ended at the on-ramp from Memorial Boulevard to I-95 North adjacent to Providence Place. Clements said Santos was “purposely ramming other people” and was an “imminent danger” to the public.
See Providence police’s body camera footage below. On the Eyewitness News app? Click here to view body cam footage »
Clements said more than 40 shots were fired at Santos’ vehicle by both Providence police officers and Rhode Island State Police troopers.
Court records show a bench warrant was issued for Santos on Sept. 20 for failure to appear in court on a probation violation. He allegedly failed to report to his probation officer on March 14, which led to an arrest warrant. That warrant was cancelled in August, but another was issued in September when he didn’t appear in front of Magistrate Patricia Harwood on the probation violation.
Santos was released from prison on May 3, 2016 after serving one year for driving a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner and violating a previous suspended sentence for breaking and entering. According to court records, he reported to a probation officer on May 18, 2016 and admitted that he had used heroin since his release from jail.
Santos failed to report for his next probation meeting on June 7, 2016, but his stepfather told the officer he had entered rehab. He reported to the probation officer on June 20, but failed to report to another meeting on July 5. Santos would fail to report to his probation officer on Jan. 30, 2017, and again on March 14, 2017.
See RIDOT footage of the incident below. On the Eyewitness News app? Click here to view RIDOT footage »