Chief: Boy, 14, intended target of deadly Woonsocket shooting

Blackstone Valley

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Three people including one adult and two juveniles are in custody in connection with a shooting that left a 17-year-old girl dead, Woonsocket police confirmed Friday.

Nyasia Williams-Thomas was sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV on Village Road when she was shot Wednesday night. She was rushed to the hospital and later died from her injuries.

Jose Ortiz Martinez, 18, and two 17-year-olds are each charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The two minors appeared in family court Friday and Martinez was ordered held without bail at his arraignment in Providence District Court pending a December 20 hearing.

During a Friday afternoon news conference, Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas Oates III said Williams-Thomas was a “true, innocent victim.”

He said the intended target of the shooting was a 14-year-old boy who was sitting in the backseat of the SUV. Oates said the shooting stemmed from some sort of altercation, but he would not go into specifics.

“It’s senseless violence. It’s young people not thinking before they act,” Oates said.

The chief said the case will be brought before the grand jury and more charges could be brought. He said it would be up to the Attorney General’s Office to decide if the two 17-year-olds would be tried as adults.

When they first announced arrests in the case, police initially said a total of four people were arrested. However, Oates said the investigation is still ongoing and they only felt comfortable bringing charges against the three suspects. However, he added that the investigation is very active and more arrests are possible.

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