PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State and local law enforcement relied on high-tech equipment as part of their response to a dangerous early morning standoff where authorities say a suspect fired hundreds of rounds of gunshots at officers.
Providence police deployed a robot equipped with a camera — called a Throwbot — to keep tabs on the suspect, identified as 61-year-old Scott MacLean. The robot is attached to the Providence Police Special Response Unit — the agency’s version of a SWAT team — and was deployed as officers surrounded the home at 25 Denison St.
It’s unclear if the Providence police robot sustained any damage in the melee.
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The Rhode Island State Police also deployed an armored tactical truck called a “Bearcat” that officers used as a massive shield when the suspect opened fire. State Police Col. James Manni said the vehicle was hit with shrapnel as bullets were exchanged with the gunman.
“I got a call last night, 3:30 in the morning, that the Providence Police Department had made a formal request for the state police to assist them with the Lenco Bearcat vehicle,” Manni said. “That means two state troopers, tactical members, go with the Bearcat — they operate it and control it.”
Manni said the Bearcat has been called to 11 incidents in the past year at eight different municipalities (three in Providence).
“It used in extreme circumstances where a tactical armored vehicle is needed like high risk warrants, hostage situations, tactical team calls,” Manni said. “It is also used to get hostage negotiators closer to the scene.”
No officers or troopers were injured in the shooting. MacLean was killed, but it’s unclear how he died. Manni said state police, the attorney general’s office and Providence police are investigating the incident due to the use of force.
Members of the SRU initially shot “OC” canisters – commonly called pepper gas – into the two-family building in an attempt to flush the suspect out. Providence Police Commissioner Steven Paré said the suspect then fired “hundreds” of rounds at officers.
Sources tell Target 12 the suspect is believed to have used at least one semi-automatic rifle. Police said MacLean’s children told them their father had at least 15 guns in the home and some rifles in a safe.
At a news conference, Paré said MacLean was known to have suffered from mental health issues. Police are looking into how he obtained the weapons and whether the possession was lawful.