PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Four young men are in police custody as detectives investigate a deadly stabbing that happened Thursday inside the Providence Place mall.
The victim was a 19-year-old man from Providence, according to Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements. His name has not yet been released.
Clements said a “melee” between six men broke out around 11:30 a.m. in the food court, which stemmed from a verbal dispute. Shortly after, one of the individuals ran over to a group of four others and stabbed the victim.
In what the chief described as a “chaotic scene” that followed, responding officers captured two suspects inside the mall and two others were chased down in the parking garage. He said police are confident they have the person who committed the stabbing in custody.
The names of those arrested have not been released, but Clements said they’re all in their late teens and early 20s and were all known to police, as well as each other. No charges had been filed as of mid-afternoon as detectives interviewed the suspects.
“Like most of the violence that we have, and we say this all the time, whether it’s gun violence, or in this case, knife violence, people on both sides of the weapon know each other,” Clements said. “There’s familiarity between victim, suspects, and that’s true here as well.”
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It was not immediately clear if more suspects are being sought.
Police tell 12 News that a weapon has been recovered.
Lindsay Kahn, a spokesperson for the mall’s owner, Brookfield Properties, said they were “disheartened by what happened,” but referred all questions to Providence police.
“The safety and security of our shoppers, retailers and employees are our top concerns every day, not just when incidents occur,” Kahn said in a statement. “We are thankful for the cooperation and support of the Providence Police Department throughout their investigation.”
The third floor was fully closed until 3:30 p.m., but the rest of the mall remained open. Some of those stores, but not all, have since reopened.
Clements said the food court on the third floor was not too crowded when the incident happened.
The chief called the stabbing an isolated incident, and said he expects police will be working with the mall to ramp up security.
“For the most part, we all know this mall is very safe,” Clements added. “We’re confident people will continue to come to this mall.”
The teen’s death marks the city’s 11th homicide of the year. Clements said he believes it was the first to take place inside the mall.
Hours after the deadly stabbing, police said a 21-year-old was shot in the head, but the injury is not life-threatening.
Later in the evening, officers responded to a report of gunshots near the intersection of Dorchester Avenue and Viola Street, according to police, though it’s unclear if anyone was injured.
Right now, there’s no word on whether any of these incidents are related.
Steph Machado contributed to this report.