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Police have shooting suspect in custody

July 18, 2011

WOONSOCKET — Police say they have a suspect in custody in connection with a shooting that left a Sayles Street man seriously injured Friday night.
The victim was identified Monday as Neil Coppinger, 24. He was still a patient at Rhode Island Hospital yesterday, where he was admitted in critical but stable condition, said Detective Lt. Eugene Jalette.
Coppinger was outside his home on the dead-end alongside the Blackstone River when he was shot in the upper torso. Police found Coppinger on the ground bleeding about 11 p.m., shortly after the shooting was reported.
Jalette declined to release further details Monday, saying the investigation is still developing.
“The Woonsocket police are presently pursing all viable leads in the investigation,” he said in a statement. “The names and any motives are presently being withheld to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
But he said a suspect was arrested in an out-of-state jurisdiction about 11 the morning after Coppinger was shot.
He wouldn't say whether the suspect is thought to have acted alone or what charges, if any, have been brought against the individual at this time.
It was the second time gunfire erupted in the city in as many days, with catastrophic results. In a scene that could have been shot for the movies, a 27-year-old man behind the wheel of a BMW slammed the car into reverse to escape gunfire at Florida Avenue and Robinson Street Thursday night.
The car violently jumped a curb and smashed through the facade of 597 Robinson Street, where Sandy and Brad Gagnon were home with their two children, eight and 13 years old. No one inside the house was injured, but the driver suffered two grazing wounds to his torso, police said.
A warrant was issued the following day for the alleged shooter, whom police identified as Justin Menard, 25, of Woonsocket. Police say he remains at large, though they continue pursuing good leads, according to Jalette.
Though police say neither shooting appears to have been a random act, extra patrols have been ordered on a temporary basis to reassure area residents.

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