PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence police have identified a suspect accused of firing five shots into the air at PVDFest on Saturday night and are actively seeking his apprehension, according to Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré.
Paré said a warrant is out for the suspect’s arrest, but declined to immediately name the person as police continue seeking his whereabouts.
Shots rang out shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday on Washington Street during the city’s signature arts and music festival. Washington Street itself was shut down to vehicle traffic, which meant the roadway was filled with people enjoying the festival. No one was hit by gunfire.
“We know who the shooter is,” Paré said. “We’ll seek his apprehension and hold him responsible.”
He said police have identified the person’s possible motive for shooting into the air at the festival, but declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.
“It wasn’t a situation where this individual or anyone was coming out to shoot innocent people,” Paré said. “It was not an active shooter type situation.”
“I’m so saddened by the fact that that happened during PVDFest,” Mayor Jorge Elorza told reporters ahead of an unrelated public event Wednesday night. “We’ve had four years of just an amazing, amazing festival and in all truth it was going so great this year, as well.”
Elorza — who has made PVDFest a centerpiece of his tenure — said he was downtown at the festival at the time of the shooting, and heard the shots himself.
“We’re all just saddened,” he said. “Saddened that such a great celebration for the city is shadowed over by this guy letting off into the air.”
Police plan to do an after-action report about the incident, which sent festivalgoers fleeing in panic.
PrideFest, another major event in downtown Providence, is slated to take place this upcoming weekend. Paré said police have a safety plan in place for Pride and are encouraging people to attend.
“I don’t think that the response that any of us should take is to crawl up into a corner and never come out,” Elorza said. “There are people who want to scare us into contemplating that, but that’s not the solution.”
PrideFest is taking place all day on Saturday, with an “illuminated night parade” starting at 8:30 p.m.
“We’re going to have a great weekend as always,” Elorza said.