PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence police have a suspect in custody after a 44-year-old man was fatally shot late Sunday night.
Louis Sepulveda, 51, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge, according to police.
The shooting happened around 11 p.m. outside a home on Manton Avenue. Major David Lapatin said both men were at a Mother’s Day cookout when the victim confronted Sepulveda about a friend he had brought with him, saying he was “causing problems and shouldn’t be there.”
This led to an argument, Lapatin said, which continued through the night and boiled over as Sepulveda was leaving the party. After more words were exchanged, he allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the victim.
Police arrived to find the victim critically wounded. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
He has been identified as Angel Rodriguez.
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Lapatin said they were able to track down Sepulveda using the city’s Flock camera system. Witnesses told police he left the cookout in a vehicle with North Carolina plates, which detectives entered into the system to get its last known location on Route 6. A Rhode Island State Police trooper then spotted the vehicle and followed it until backup arrived and they could pull it over.
Sepulveda was taken into custody and police recovered the gun. Lapatin said he’s wanted on five bench warrants out of North Carolina, where he was living under the alias Antonio Rios. Sepulveda has prior arrests in Rhode Island dating back to 1996, Lapatin added.
The Flock camera system is an “extremely valuable tool” when police are actively searching for a suspect, according to Lapatin.
“It’s used basically just for situations like this. It’s only in matters of extreme importance,” he said. “We respect what we have, and we value it, and we don’t abuse it. It’s been a wonderful acquisition for us and it keeps the city safer.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Rhode Island released a statement reiterating its concerns about the department’s use of license plate detection cameras.
“Community safety is a critical and mutual goal that we share with the city of Providence – however, we continue to be concerned that, until meaningful restrictions are placed on the expansive use of Flock Safety technology, the compromising of privacy and the normalization of widespread government surveillance will be the insidious collateral consequences of its use,” ACLU policy associate Hannah Stern wrote. “It is possible to achieve the results that the Providence Police Department is lauding Flock Safety for without giving the broad leeway to follow and track any individual driving in the city.”
This is the city’s fifth homicide of the year.