WESTERLY — Joseph Giachello, the gunman in the December shooting at the Babcock Village Apartments, left a brief note for officials before killing himself. He apologized for "the mess he had made" and wrote down a contact number for his daughter.
The police found the note in a court-authorized search of Giachello's room at the apartment complex, according to a warrant filed with the Rhode Island judicial system. Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said Thursday that the investigation also determined that he had canceled his cable and phone accounts two days earlier, after telling a Cox Cable representative that he would soon be dead.
"It was a very brief note in which he directly apologized for the mess he had made," Lacey said. "He insinuated in the note that when a man can no longer do what he'd like in his own room, it's time to move on."
On the morning of Dec. 19, the police said Giachello, 66, opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver at the Cross Street building, killing office manager Julie Cardinal and injuring facility manager Robin Moss and another resident, Donna Thornley. He then returned to his apartment and killed himself. An autopsy report determined that he had died from a bullet to the chest.
The police applied for a search warrant as soon as they determined that Giachello was the shooter. The police said a warrant was a necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation and victim's rights.
The note did not specify what he was restricted from doing, but the police said it appears he was motivated by a letter dated Nov. 12 from Property Advisory Group & Affordable Housing Strategies Inc., the company that operates Babcock Village, stating that he faced possible termination for noncompliance with his lease.
The police said letters obtained as part of the investigation indicated that he had "numerous violations" for smoking in his room and would be evicted if he did not comply with the rule. Westerly police said he received a letter one day after initially applying to purchase the gun.
Police records show that Giachello had also received a letter from Moss on Nov. 21 saying he would be subject to a rent adjustment. She had contacted him again on Dec. 12 when he had not responded, the police said.
According to police, Giachello obtained the gun two days before the shooting from Hope Valley Bait & Tackle after a 36-day process that included two police background checks. Although Giachello had a history of treatment for mental health problems in 2002 and 2003, Richmond and Westerly police said he was voluntarily committed.
Richmond police said last week that Giachello had concealed his mental health history in his gun application, and that the incidents for which he was committed — including at least one in which he was described as homicidal and suicidal — did not show up because there was no record of a court order or legally required treatment.
Lacey said Thursday that police have since learned that after obtaining the gun on Dec. 17, Giachello had called Cox Communications to cancel his cable and phone services as soon as possible. In a recorded conversation provided by the company, the police said that when a customer service representative asked him why he was canceling, he told them "I'll be dead in a few days."
Cox did not contact the Westerly police after that conversation, Lacey said. Cox said in a prepared statement that the company was "fully cooperating with law enforcement during this active investigation.”
Lacey said the company has been accommodating and he insisted that its representatives did nothing wrong, even in not contacting aw enforcement.
"The company had no requirement to tell us and frankly, they may not even have had reason to be suspicious," said Lacey, who noted that the company requires all customers to say why they are ending their services and often receives a variety of ridiculous answers.
The case remains under investigation and is likely to remain so for some time, Lacey said.