BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Police continue to investigate an officer-involved shooting that occurred Thursday night in Bristol.
Bristol Police Chief Kevin Lynch said two Roger Williams University female students were enjoying a night out at Colt State Park when they were approached by a naked man who was making hand gestures that made them uncomfortable.
The students decided to leave, but the suspect, who they later identified as 39-year-old Mark Rinn of Rehoboth, decided to follow and chase them while flashing his high beams.
Lynch said the students called one of their friends, who said it was best if they went to the police department.
When they pulled into the police station’s parking lot, Lynch said Rinn rammed into their vehicle multiple times.
The students got out of the vehicle and screamed for help, which caught the attention of an officer’s spouse, who was also in the parking lot.
The spouse immediately called the desk sergeant who came out and tried to get Rinn to stop.
Lynch said Rinn came at the sergeant with his vehicle and then struck the students’ vehicle again. That’s when the sergeant fired two shots into the suspect’s vehicle, striking Rinn.
Police immediately rendered first aid and transported Rinn to Rhode Island Hospital. Lynch said he was alert at the time, but his current status is unknown.
“I have to credit the sergeant, his actions were heroic, and these two young ladies could have fallen into a difficult demise situation based on the surroundings so the sergeant’s actions were definitely heroic and assisted in saving these two ladies,” Lynch said.
The two students suffered minor injuries and the sergeant was not injured.
In a letter to the Roger Williams community, Vice President for Student Life Dr. John King said the university is providing support to the two students involved.
“Roger Williams University expresses its gratitude and commends the heroism of the local Bristol Police Department in protecting two of our students and the community,” the letter read. “We are thankful our students and Bristol Police were not seriously injured. We are incredibly proud of our students, local citizens, and law enforcement, who acted immediately.”
Bristol police do have body cameras, but Lynch said the desk sergeant was on administrative duty at the time so he did not have his camera on.
There is surveillance footage outside the station that captured the incident, which Lynch said they will be reviewing.
“For the fourth year in a row we have been the safest town in Rhode Island and just last year we became the safest college town in the United States of America so we work very hard, this is a very professional police department and yes, it’s certainly a chaotic situation,” Lynch said.
Lynch said this was an isolated incident and there is no additional threat to the community.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Rhode Island State Police are involved in the investigation.