Local leaders react to deadly shooting outside Providence school

Providence police Fricker Street scene

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Reaction poured into the Eyewitness Newsroom Wednesday after a Central High School student was fatally shot near the school.

The victim was identified Thursday as William Parsons, 15. Police said they don’t believe he was the intended target.

Below are statements from congressional, state and city leaders in response to the shooting:

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza:

“This is a devastating tragedy for the family and for our city. 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.”

U.S. Sen Jack Reed:

“While we do not know the full details of the incident, our hearts go out to those affected by this tragic and senseless shooting. And we are grateful that law enforcement continues doing everything they can to find the suspects and protect the public. 

“There is too much gun violence. Period. Elected officials need to start listening to students, parents, teachers, and law enforcement. They are demanding action to keep guns from flooding our streets. We must work together toward commonsense solutions to make our schools and communities safer. We can’t just give in to apathy or allow gun industry lobbyists to block progress or weaken public safety measures. 

“We need to come together and do more to prevent gun violence.”

State Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, D-Providence:

“It is with deep sadness that I write about yet another senseless killing of a bright 15-year-old boy. Schools are sacred places of teaching and learning so this public health tragedy is hard on our community. Families must send their children to school and know that they will return home. We must invest in the core urban areas. Poverty and structural racism is the root cause of this tragedy, like so many others. Easy access to guns and ammunition must stop. It cannot be that easy for kids to get guns.

“As a teacher in Providence Public Schools, my colleagues and I want a greater investment in our school. This greater investment must not be more police. Teachers and administrators, guidance counselors and social workers and psychologists are on the frontline and must be supported.”

Providence mayoral candidate Kobi Dennis:

“On our second day back to school, our students have to experience tragedy. While on the scene of the shooting at PCTA, another shooting occurred. City leaders continue to profess violence is down in the city by putting out numbers that are never checked. I check the numbers by talking to the people impacted and today is no different. I spoke with an emotional classmate that was furious about the lack of safety in the city. He said, ‘They only come around when something bad happens.’ We need to connect better with the communities to lessen these preventable tragedies. The Providence Fire Department has to come and physically wash the human blood off of the school sign. Explain that in the numbers. Explain that to the families.”

Providence mayoral candidate Dianne Witman:

“Nothing could be worse. Then when a child goes to school in the morning and does not come home in the afternoon.”

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