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WPD: Officer shot at driver using vehicle as weapon

November 20, 2013

WOONSOCKET – The still-unidentified policeman who fired his gun in front of the police station Saturday apparently did so when a motorist allegedly attempted to use his vehicle as a weapon against the officer.

That driver was identified for the first time Wednesday as Angel Luiz Perez, 48, of 175 Sixth Ave. Police say they intend to charge him with several crimes, including felony assault with a dangerous weapon – a motor vehicle.

Police say the charge stems from an incident in which a woman was attempting to flee Perez. She was driving a motor vehicle at the time, while Perez was pursuing her in another.

In fear for her life, the woman headed toward the police station on Clinton Street and was in contact by cell phone with police along the way. As she neared the station, about 1:20 a.m., the officer assigned to the station for the night left the building to make contact with her.

No one was injured in the ensuing moments, during which officer discharged his service-issue weapon. But because they have asked Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s office to investigate the shooting, police have been sketchy on details about what happened.

“Perez is the suspect in the domestic crime that was being investigated by the Woonsocket Police in which a member of the police department discharged his service weapon,” Paone said in a brief, prepared statement.

What is clear is that Perez was not arrested until a few minutes after the shooting in nearby Massachusetts. Bellingham Police Department logs indicate that the Woonsocket police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert, or BOLO, for Perez’s blue 1993 Toyota after a report of “shots fired in front of station.”

Bellingham Patrolman Steve Daigle stopped Perez’s car near Mann and South Main streets, just north of the state line, at 1:41 a.m.
Perez was arrested without incident and charged with a single count of being a fugitive from justice in Rhode Island.

Woonsocket police have not yet obtained custody of Perez. He is being held at the Worcester County House of Corrections in West Boylston on $20,000 bail, a spokeswoman for the facility said.

He is scheduled to appear in Milford District Court next month for a rendition hearing to determine when he will be transferred to the custody of Rhode Island authorities.

It’s unknown whether Perez intends to fight the transfer, which he has a right to do. He could also waive his right.

Though the hearing is scheduled for mid-December, corrections officials declined to provide the exact date, citing security reasons.
Paone declined to say what Perez’s relationship was with the 36-year-old woman he was pursuing. In order to invoke the domestic violence statutes, however, the couple would either have to be living together, involved in a substantial dating relationship, married or have a child in common. She was not injured, Paone said.

In addition to felony assault, the police also intend to charge Perez with domestic disorderly conduct and violation of a no-contact order.
“It is unknown when he will be arraigned in Rhode Island,” Paone’s statement said.

Detective Capt. Edward J. Lee Jr. said the police are withholding details about the case as a courtesy to state prosecutors, who are in charge of the investigation. The police have asked the department to conduct a review of the shooting, as police departments often do when officers discharge their firearms in the line of duty.

Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for Kilmartin, said there is no hard and fast rule requiring state prosecutors to review such cases, but it is one option. Such incidents may also be reviewed by the in-house internal affairs bureau of the department that employs the officer or by a neighboring police department.

Follow Russ Olivo on Twitter @russolivo

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