Suspect, 17, in Providence Place shooting placed on home confinement

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — As the suspect faced a judge, police Tuesday identified the 19-year-old man shot Monday in the parking garage of the Providence Place mall.

Police said the injuries suffered by Leonard Liriano of Cranston when he was shot outside the Nordstrom entrance were not life-threatening.

The suspect, a 17-year-old male from Pawtucket, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon. Police said surveillance video from the mall provided them with the license plate of a vehicle leaving the garage after the shooting, which led them to a Pawtucket address where they located the suspect.

The boy appeared for arraignment before a Family Court judge and was ordered released on home confinement. The suspect – whose name is not being released because of his age – is due back in court for a pretrial hearing Feb. 13.

The defense argued that the surveillance footage shows no crime, only people leaving the scene.

Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements confirmed with Eyewitness News the suspect was initially taken to the Rhode Island Training School following his arrest.

The chief said other arrests related to the incident are possible and did not rule out gang-related activity.

The shooting “was not random,” according to Clements. He said a fight broke out between two groups inside a store and continued into the parking garage.

Upon reports of the shooting, the mall was placed on lockdown and then evacuated. Neighboring venues including Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel were also placed on lockdown.

The investigation is ongoing.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza addressed the incident, referring to the suspect in the shooting as a “knucklehead.” Elorza was also adamant that there is no room for violence in the capital city:

“The city is not only a safe city, but it’s a much safer city in the past couple of years than it has been in our history. I’ve mentioned homicide rates in 2016 lowest it’s been in 30 years. Shooting rates down twenty nine percent over a five year average. Burglaries are down in the five year average, about thirty percent. But there’s no question, Providence is not only a safe city but its the safest its been in a very very long time.”

This story will be updated throughout the day on WPRI.com and we’ll have more on Eyewitness News at noon on WPRI 12.