PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A 15-year-old boy has died after he was shot outside a Providence school Wednesday afternoon, city police confirm.
The shooting took place around 2 p.m. near the Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA) on Fricker Street. According to police, the school’s resource officer was alerted to a fight outside before shots rang out, and the suspects fled up Westminster Street.
The victim was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not yet been released but Providence police confirm he was a Central High School student.
Police also responded to a second shooting less than a mile away on Sprague Street and later confirmed that the victim was a person of interest in the first shooting. It’s unclear if he’s the suspected shooter. He was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital with a non-life-threatening injury, police said.
A school department spokesperson said PCTA and nearby Classical High School were in session when the shooting took place while Central High School had already been dismissed, though some students and teachers were still inside the building. All three schools were placed into modified lockdown, meaning people could move around inside the buildings but not leave. They were eventually “let out strategically for dismissal” with assistance from police, the spokesperson said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has responded to the shooting scene along with city police officials.
“Some mom and dad is going to go to sleep tonight without their son,” Raimondo said. “That puts a pit in your stomach, and our job is not done until all kids are safe and all teachers are safe and these schools are safe.”
Gov. Raimondo just arrived on scene and is talking to Providence Police Officers. We’re right outside of Providence Career and Technical Academy. Police confirmed the student who was shot here earlier has died. pic.twitter.com/GONbL7NiWd— Shiina LoSciuto (@ShiinaHL) September 5, 2018
“This is a devastating tragedy for the family and for our city,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement. “I am heartbroken for the family of the victim and for the students and adults who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy. This type of violence will not be accepted in our city and we will come together as a community to support the victim’s family.”
Providence Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher said the incident is “heartbreaking.”
“I think it’s senseless,” he said. “There really are no words for it.”
While Maher said he will be working with police and the community to ensure students arrive at school and are dismissed safely, he said he believes the incident does not reflect negatively on the safety measures inside Providence schools.
“For me, this is an incident that took place on the streets of Providence, and the victim was one of our students,” Maher said. “This was not something where we had a safety issue inside of a school that were aware of. If the police uncover that, we will take all appropriate measures.”
In the meantime, Providence teachers have suspended their work-to-rule action in response to the deadly shooting.
It was the second time emergency responders were in the area on Wednesday, after PCTA was evacuated due to a gas leak around 9:15 a.m.
Police dogs are being led around the career and technical center. A former student tells me that school was dismissed shortly after 2, but Central is set to be dismissed shortly.— Kim Kalunian (@KimKalunian) September 5, 2018
The mayor and public safety commissioner are here now getting a briefing from the chief. The chief told us a school resource officer was the first one to see the scuffle and shooting.— Kim Kalunian (@KimKalunian) September 5, 2018
Sarah Doiron, Kim Kalunian, Shiina LoSciuto and Caroline Goggin contributed to this report.