WOONSOCKET – A city man shot and killed himself Thursday moments after firefighters evacuated the man’s wife and young daughter from their apartment unit located in the sprawling Veterans Memorial public housing development in the city’s Fairmount section.
There were initial reports that gunshots were fired at police officers and firefighters responding to the emergency call at the home, but police later confirmed that no firefighters or officers on the scene were shot at or injured.
According to officials, at 9:25 a.m. police and firefighters responded to 38 Memorial Drive for a report of a suicidal subject inside. Firefighters arriving at the scene assisted in evacuating from the dwelling two occupants who were later identified by a neighbor who witnessed the scene as the man’s wife and young daughter.
Moments after the woman and child were led away from the house, a gunshot was heard. The Woonsocket Police Department’s special response team was mobilized and made entry into the dwelling where they located a deceased male subject, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said
Police have not identified the man.
“At no time were any members of public safety fired upon by the victim,” police said in a statement yesterday.
The victim’s wife and child were also not injured and were taken by ambulance to Landmark Medical Center for observation.
“I was feeding my niece when a heard a ‘boom,” said next door neighbor Carmine Rivera. “Then I heard her (the man’s wife) screaming.”
Another neighbor said the victim had five children ranging in age from 2 to 14. None of the other children were home at the time of the incident.
“He was a good guy. I didn’t know him that well because he didn’t speak English that good,” said a woman who lives a few doors up from 38 Memorial Drive.
“They were a very close-knit family, although we did hear a lot of screaming in Spanish coming from the house just yesterday,” she said.
After members of the police special response team arrived, the street was cordoned off as armed police with shields surrounded the four-bedroom unit. The Veterans Memorial housing development off Bourdon Boulevard, is one of two public housing developments managed by the Woonsocket Housing Authority
“There were cops everywhere with their guns drawn telling everyone to stay inside their houses,” said one resident of the development.
The medical examiner arrived at the scene at 10:30 a.m., followed by two distraught women who identified themselves as sisters of the victim’s wife. A detective standing near the area cordoned off told the women that their sister was not harmed and had been brought to the hospital.
The body was removed from the apartment just after 11 a.m.