by Gabriella Pisano ‘18
Co News Editor
While Friar fans filled the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Monday, January 15 to watch the Men’s Basketball team beat Butler University, a shooting took place in the parking garage of the Providence Place Mall. The mall and surrounding areas such as the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel were all placed on lockdown.
19-year-old Leonard Liriano of Cranston, Rhode Island was the only victim of what police say was a targeted shooting. Liriano was shot in the leg. His injuries are not considered life threatening.
Surveillance videos show a fight taking place outside of Footlocker shortly before the shooting occurred. The fight took place between two groups of kids, prompting the police to search for up to 10 suspects.
Hours after the shooting, police arrested a suspect, a 17-year-old male. He was charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon. Surveillance videos from the mall provided the police with the license plate number of the suspect’s car that was seen leaving the garage after the shooting.
The suspect, whose name is not being released due to his age, was ordered to be released on home confinement. Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements Jr. said that other arrests related to the incident are possible. The investigation is ongoing, and the Chief did not rule out gang-related activity. The pretrial hearing where the suspect is due back in court is to take place on Feb. 13.
Jorge Elorza, mayor of Providence, responded to the shooting saying, “The city is not only a safe city, but it’s a much safer city in the past couple of years than it has been in our history. I’ve mentioned homicide rates in 2016, lowest it’s been in 30 years. Shooting rates are down 29 percent over a five-year average. Burglaries are down in the five-year average, about 30 percent. But there’s no question, Providence is not only a safe city but it’s the safest it’s been in a very, very long time.”
The FriarALERT system was not used on Monday when the shooting occurred.
Over winter break, the FriarALERT system, which is used to notify members of the campus community when immediate action is necessary, was tested. Those using the FriarALERT system received three messages indicating a test of the system was taking place.
Last semester on Nov. 9, 2017 the FriarALERT system was used to notify faculty and students that shots were fired near Providence Place Mall. The alert said to avoid I-95 and Rt. 10 near the mall.
The Emergency Management Office was not available to comment as to why the FriarALERT was not utilzed on Monday.