There was something unsettling about the Westerly police’s disclosure last week that one of the men singled out in the April 1 shooting on Pleasant Street had been detained here soon after the incident because the police had discovered that he was wanted himself in an earlier shooting in Providence.
Police Chief Edward W. St. Clair’s initial assessment that the incident might have been a case of “someone trying to even some kind of score” proved to be correct. And he did report several days later that the men, who were shot at from a vehicle, had been “tentatively identified” and questioned.
In the meantime, fears arose of a resurgence in crime in the North End. People admitted they were scared, and for good reason, given the number of bullets and shell casings, fired from different weapons, that were recovered from an area where children play and people run their businesses.
As it turned out, one of the men had been arrested on two warrants, and his name was in our April 4 police log. Were the police hoping he would “snitch”? Maybe it was our fault that we failed to connect the dots. But in any case, it appears that a more illuminating report could have alleviated some of the North End’s concerns. As a general rule, people can handle the truth. Facts and trust go hand in hand and are essential to good police-community relations.