WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick man has been charged with felony assault after he lunged at a group of officers with a knife in the main lobby of the city’s police department last week, according to Police Chief Bradford Connor.
The incident occurred Friday afternoon when Connor said 29-year-old Jacob Thomas entered the building and charged at a group of officers as they were walking into the main lobby.
Thomas stabbed one of the officers, identified by the police chief as Jessica Masso, in the torso. She wasn’t injured, however, because Connor said she was wearing a bulletproof vest.
In response to the attack, the police chief said Masso, along with Sergeant Walter Larson and officers Oliver Pinheiro and Michael Bailey, pulled out their service weapons and opened fire on Thomas.
Despite being shot by the officers, Connor said Thomas charged a second time at the group with the knife. The officers then opened fire on Thomas again in an attempt to stop the attack, according to the police chief.
Connor said the second round of gunfire forced Thomas to the ground, though he repeatedly ignored the officers’ commands to drop the knife. The officers immediately began tending to Thomas’ injuries after deploying a Taser, which forced him to drop the knife.
Thomas was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he is still recovering from his injuries. Once he is released from the hospital, Connor said he will be formally charged with felony assault.
“We are extremely grateful that none of the brave men and women of the Warwick Police Department involved in this incident were seriously injured and grateful to the numerous members of law enforcement and the public who have expressed their support in the days following this unfortunate event,” Connor said.
The officers involved had roughly 16 years of experience combined, Connor noted. All of them have been placed on administrative leave, per the department’s use-of-force protocol.
Rhode Island State Police, alongside the Attorney General’s Office, are actively investigating the incident as they’re required to by law.
The Warwick Police Department’s main lobby was closed for several hours following the incident, but re-opened Saturday morning.