PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for a Pawtucket man suspected of fatally stabbing another man inside a Providence business earlier this week.
Police allege Joel Francisco, 41, stabbed Troy Pine, 46, after a brief altercation late Wednesday night at Nara Hookah Lounge on Atwells Avenue.
“The victim later — as it was broken up — stumbled or walked toward the front door, found himself on the sidewalk, and the suspect — we believe — left through another door,” Providence Police Major David Lapatin said.
Francisco has previously been identified as a high-ranking member of the Latin Kings gang, identified by the FBI as one of the largest street gangs in the country.
Pine later died at the hospital. Members of his family said they were relieved that police identified a suspect so quickly.
Pine’s nephew, Jay Chattelle, wanted to relay a message to Francisco: “You stole a father, a brother, an uncle, a best friend, a loyal, faithful individual. You stole him from us.”
Chattelle described his uncle as a very generous and caring person who could put a smile on anyone’s face. He also said Pine was a frequent patron of Nara and other Federal Hill businesses.
“He’s a regular here in the Rhode Island life, restaurant life,” Chattelle said. “He’s a people person. He really enjoys people.”
Chattelle doesn’t think his uncle and Francisco knew each other.
“I believe this was a random act of violence,” he said.
Records show Francisco was on probation following a federal drug dealing conviction. While on supervised release, he was arrested in July in Pawtucket for an attempted breaking and entering, which could have triggered action to put him back behind bars.
Jim Martin, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office, said federal prosecutors were not aware of the July arrest. But he said he did not know if officials at U.S. Probation — who oversee the supervised release under Francisco’s sentence — had been notified.
Blake Collins, a spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Neronha, said in an email, “it is our understanding that federal probation knew about Francisco’s arrest at the time of the arrest.”
“Francisco was not on state probation at the time of his July arrest,” Collins said. “After his arrest, this office charged him in Superior Court based on our determination there was sufficient evidence to find probable cause that he committed the charged offense.”
“The bottom line is, federal authorities were aware about Francisco’s arrest at the time of his arrest,” he added.
The club was ordered temporarily closed by the city’s Board of Licenses the day after the stabbing. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 7.
Anyone with information on Francisco’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Fabio Zuena at (401) 243-6332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, the family is urging him to come forward.
“Please do the right thing,” Chattelle said. “You weren’t able to do the right thing before, but do the right thing now.”