State police identify four of its officers involved in I-95 shooting

State police identify four of its officers involved in I-95 shooting

SCITUATE — The Rhode Island State Police have identified the four officers involved in a police shooting  in Providence last week that killed Joseph Santos, 32, and wounded his companion in a pickup truck on on Interstate 95.

The four troopers who fired their weapons were identified as Detective Lt. Cynthia Trahan, a 20-year veteran assigned to the detective bureau; Cpl. Scott R. Carlsten, a 20-year veteran assigned to the uniform bureau; Detective Cpl. Herbert D. Tilson, a 12-year veteran assigned to the detective bureau, and Trooper Garrett S. Hassett, a 6-year veteran assigned to the uniform bureau. All four are on administrative leave.

Providence police Major Oscar Perez, Sgt. Gregory Paolo and Providence officers Christopher Ziroli, Matthew McGloin and Thomas Zincone were identified by officials last week as also having fired their weapons. No weapon was found in the truck Santos was driving.

According to a press release from Rhode Island State Police on Tuesday, an investigation determined that the officers had fired 23 shots during the incident, which occurred Thursday after the pickup, an F-250, had come to a halt on the highway in the downtown. The shooting, as well as a secondary investigation into the theft of a police cruiser that same day, remain under investigation.

“As part of the investigation, the Rhode Island State Police is reviewing its internal policies and protocols with regards to both incidents,” Col. Ann C. Assumpico said in a press release.

In addition, Assumpico said she has ordered that partitions be installed between the front and back seats of all marked state police cruisers as soon as possible to provide further protection for troopers and the general public.

The shooting occurred as state police were searching for a suspect in the theft of a cruiser about two hours before. State police said 35-year-old Donald Morgan stole the cruiser while a trooper, who was taking him to court, stopped to assist a motorist in an accident. The cruiser was recovered in Providence near the interchange between I-95 and Route 10 approximately 30 minutes later.

State police on Tuesday identified Trooper Michael J. Doherty, a 12-year veteran, as the trooper whose cruiser was stolen as he was taking Morgan to court.

During the investigation, troopers and Providence police converged on the truck driven by Santos, of Providence. Santos, who had two outstanding warrants, tried to flee and repeatedly struck a car in front of him, highway surveillance footage shows.

A total of 40 shots were fired in all, Providence police have said, and Santos’ passenger, 37-year-old Christine Demers, remains hospitalized.

Morgan was located in Cumberland on Saturday and charged with escape from custody.

– Jason Vallee


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