PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after police used deadly force against a suspect in Providence following a chase that originated in northern Rhode Island.
Michael Pinto, 40, of Glocester, died Friday night at Rhode Island Hospital after he was shot by officers outside Women & Infants Hospital on Gay Street.
Police on Saturday said Pinto was wanted on active felony arrest warrants out of both Burrillville and Glocester. They allege he fled from an attempted traffic stop near the town line Thursday afternoon, then tried to run over a Burrillville officer after police again attempted to stop him Friday night.
Pinto’s teenage daughter was inside the vehicle on Friday and suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, according to police.
Burrillville Police Chief Stephen Lynch said Pinto was seen driving near the town line around 7:30 p.m. Friday and officers pursued him through town until the chase was called off on Route 146 South. However, police caught up with Pinto after he got stuck in traffic on Route 146 and tried to arrest him, but it was then he allegedly drove at one of the officers, who fired two rounds into the suspect’s vehicle, according to Lynch.
That officer, identified as Sgt. Henry Yakey, was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries, Lynch said.
A short time later, Providence officers spotted Pinto and tried to stop him as he got onto Dean Street from Route 10, according to Providence Police Chief Oscar Perez.
“The operator, Mr. Pinto, then mounted the sidewalk and fled from Providence police officers, operating in a reckless manner,” Perez said.
Police pursued Pinto until he got caught in traffic at the intersection of Dudley and Eddy streets. When an officer approached to try to get him out of the vehicle, Perez said he put it in reverse, hit an unmarked cruiser, then again drove up on the sidewalk to flee.
After encountering more traffic outside the hospital’s emergency entrance on Gay Street, Pinto mounted the sidewalk a third time, according to Perez. The chief said Pinto reversed toward a nurse who was standing there and Sgt. Rampone, prompting him and another officer, identified as Sgt. Lopes, to open fire at his vehicle.
Pinto was taken out of the vehicle and brought to the hospital, where he died. Perez said the nurse was also taken to the hospital with injuries.
Pinto was known to law enforcement, according to Lynch, having been arrested in the past, but the chief didn’t delve into his criminal history.
Lynch also noted that police were not aware his daughter was in the vehicle until the aftermath in Providence.
All three officers who fired their weapons are now on administrative leave, as per protocol, and both Rhode Island State Police and the R.I. Attorney General’s Office are investigating the ordeal.
“It’s a complicated matter. Frankly, there are at least four or five separate incidents along the way that need to be reviewed,” Attorney General Peter Neronha said.