CUMBERLAND – The three masked bandits who broke into an Overhill Road home Wednesday night and left the owner with an alleged gunshot wound to the head after a violent struggle had targeted the residence, police said.
"In order to ease concerns of neighboring residents, the residence at Overhill Road appears to have been the target of the intruders, and the burglary was not a random act," Police Chief John R. Desmarais said in a statement released Thursday morning. "I want to assure the neighboring residents that the neighborhood, as well as the rest of the town, is safe."
In the meantime, the 66-year-old unidentified homeowner who was allegedly shot during the incident has been treated at Rhode Island Hospital and released.
Cumberland Police Lt. Michael Reilly said in earlier published reports that the man was grazed in the head by what appeared to be a bullet.
Police initially stated that when the man returned to his home on Overhill Road, he was confronted by three masked men in the lower level of a residence. A struggle ensued, during which time a gun discharged. The resident reported to police that one of the intruders possessed a firearm, and another possessed some type of bladed weapon. Earlier reports stated that the homeowner suffered a gunshot wound to his head and was taken by rescue to Rhode Island Hospital.
But in his statement this morning, Desmarais said investigators are still trying to determine if the victim’s injuries were caused by a firearm or the bladed weapon, and whether anything had been taken from the home.
"The resident was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where his injuries were not life threatening," Desmarais said. "Police are waiting to speak with the victim in order to clarify the type of weapons were used."
Deputy Police Chief Michael Kinch said detectives were planning to talk with the victim Thursday to "clarify" the nature of the injuries.
Desmarais, however, did not dispute the fact that a violent struggle ensued when the man returned home to find the three masked men in his residence. The chief said the department received a call around 10 p.m. of a report of a burglary that had taken place at a residence.
"The resident, a 66-year-old male, came home to find three masked intruders in the basement of his home," the chief said in his statement Thursday. "A struggled ensued, resulting in the homeowner receiving a head injury as well as injuries to his hand and legs. After the struggle, (we) were able to determine that the intruders fled the residence by stealing the homeowner’s vehicle (a gray 2000 Jeep). After canvassing the area, (we) were able to locate the stolen vehicle the next street over, near a wooded area."
Police reported Wednesday night that the man's wife was home at the time of the break-in, but was upstairs and not in sight of the burglars.
The three white males, said to be in their teens or early 20s, were still at large as of this morning. An all-points bulletin was put out for the suspects, all wearing black hats and masks. They were said to be armed and considered dangerous.
"We don't have any leads at this point, but what we can say is that this house was targeted. It wasn't a random act," said Kinch.