PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Multiple agencies are investigating after a Cranston Police Officer fired his gun at a suspect Saturday morning.
The incident happened on Cranston Street, near the intersection of Niantic Avenue in Providence just after 11 a.m.
Colonel Michael Winquist, Chief of the Cranston Police Department, said the situation began when a patrol officer observed a driver not wearing his seat belt.
That driver has since been identified as Anthony McKinney Jr., 28, of Providence.
Police said McKinney has a lengthy criminal history and was released from the Adult Correctional Institutions in January after serving an armed robbery sentence. He also has an active arrest warrant from the Providence Police Department for an alleged assault.
According to Winquist, the eight-year veteran officer put on his flashing lights to pull McKinney over. Initially, McKinney appeared to be complying, but suddenly swerved back into the left lane before sideswiping a car stopped in traffic, according to police.
Police said McKinney could not continue forward due to traffic, and that’s when the officer got out of his vehicle to approach the car. Winquist said McKinney then put his car in reverse, passing the officer in the wrong direction down Cranston Street before hitting a guardrail.
The officer ran after the vehicle, which was facing him, with his gun pointed at it while shouting to the suspect to stop. Police said McKinney then started driving towards the officer. The officer fired one round that went through the windshield, but did not hit McKinney, according to Winquist.
A Rhode Island State Police Trooper who was in the parking lot of a nearby 7-11 heard the gunshot and responded to the scene, helping to place the suspect in custody.
McKinney was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for a check of a heart-related issue. He is expected to be released tonight, and will be charged by Rhode Island State Police.
“The officer involved in this incident is an eight-year veteran of the Cranston Police Department who is well trained,” Winquist said in a statement. “Based on preliminary investigation, I support the officer’s actions. Fortunately, he was not injured, and he can go home to his family tonight. The suspect unnecessarily created an extremely dangerous situation that endangered the officer’s life and the general public.”
The Cranston Police Department, Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department are all investigating the incident.