Cranston police credit vest with saving officer’s life

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A Cranston police officer who was stabbed multiple times by a suspect is now recovering thanks to an important part of his uniform.

“He would have been seriously injured, so we’re very fortunate he was not,” Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist said Wednesday.

The officer suffered only superficial wounds, according to Winquist, because the bulletproof vest he was wearing prevented the knife from fully penetrating his body.

Winquist said two officers responded Monday night to a domestic disturbance call when Luis Silva allegedly pulled a knife and “began to stab one of the officers in the back at least three times.”

Police said the suspect stabbed so hard the knife actually broke.

“The first thing that kicks in is their training instinct that they have, and obviously to preserve their own lives,” Winquist added. “So they’re going to do anything they can to get out of that situation so they can go home to their families.”

The officer pulled his gun but opted to not use deadly force, which Winquist believes would’ve been justified. Instead, the second officer used physical force to subdue Silva. The suspect continued to threaten the officers even after he was put into handcuffs, according to Winquist.

“Not only did he say that once he got out of jail he would kill the officers that arrested him, he also mentioned that he had nothing to live for,” the chief said.

“Both officers are very experienced and again, very fortunate in this situation,” he added.

Silva, 37, is now being held at the ACI on $50,000 bail. Police said his mother also got involved in the altercation and was arrested on charges of simple assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer in the execution of duty.