Medical Examiner: Man killed by police died from gunshot wound to neck

Photos: Facebook/Dan McGowan-WPRI-TV

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man shot and killed by police in Providence last week died from a gunshot wound to the neck, a spokesperson for the state medical examiner’s office announced Wednesday.

Joseph Santos, 32, died last Thursday following a violent confrontation on a busy I-95 on-ramp near the Providence Place mall. Police said Santos was driving erratically and ramming other cars, and officers were forced to open fire because he was an “imminent danger” to the public.

His passenger, 37-year-old Christine Demers, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The shooting stemmed from the search for Donald Morgan, who police said stole a Rhode Island State Police cruiser earlier that morning. Police received a tip that Morgan may have jumped in the back of a white pickup truck, and started pulling over white pickup trucks in the area.

Police said Santos, who was driving a white pickup truck, took off as an officer attempted to pull him over, which led to a high-speed chase and resulted in the officer-involved shooting. Morgan was not found in the back of the truck.

Morgan, 35, was arrested in Cumberland last Friday after about 36 hours on the run. He faced a judge Tuesday and was ordered to be held as a violator of his bail on previous charges. It was revealed on Tuesday that Santos and Morgan were friends, having met at a rehabilitation center in Cranston, but it’s unclear if Santos helped Morgan in any way on Thursday.