‘Things have changed’: Westerly residents mourn day after deadly shooting

South County

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — One day after a deadly shooting rocked the seaside community of Westerly, residents are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

The incident took place Thursday morning at Babcock Village on Cross Street, where police said resident Joseph Giachello opened fire in the main lobby.

Police said two managers of the housing complex were shot, one fatally. Julie Lynn Cardinal, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene and Robin Moss, 38, remains in critical condition.

A third woman, identified as Donna Thornley, 66, was also shot. Police said she is a resident of the housing complex and is currently in stable condition.

Giachello, 66, was later found dead in his residence from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Sunil Chandry, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church, tells Eyewitness News Cardinal was well-known within the community.

“She was a joyful person,” Chandry said. “Our whole community is going to feel this loss.”

In honor of Cardinal, whose family belongs to the congregation, the church held an ecumenical candlelight vigil and prayer service Friday evening.

“This is something I have never experienced in Westerly or my life, and I don’t think Westerly has experienced something like this at all,” Chandry said. “We are going to be different — we are different. Prior to yesterday, people left their doors unlocked. Things have changed — fundamentally changed.”

Cardinal’s daughter, Hannah Bettencourt, tells Eyewitness News she’s struggling with the loss of her mom but is thankful for the outpouring of support her family has received.

“She knew a lot of people that I didn’t even know, so the love from everybody is really great,” Bettencourt said.

The Phoenix, a popular restaurant located along the Connecticut border, is also holding a benefit concert for all of the victims on Jan. 12.

Business consultant Barry Fortin said eight bands of all different genres will be taking part in the concert, which will begin at 2 p.m.

“All the bands that signed up to do this are donating their time,” Fortin said.

Fortin’s business partner and owner of the restaurant Richard Mann said he personally knew Cardinal. She said she loved music and a concert is a perfect way to honor her.

A GoFundMe page was created to raise money for Cardinal’s family.

Anyone who needs help coping with the tragedy is asked to contact BH Link at (401) 414-LINK (5465).

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