State Watch

At least 9 injured in Rhode Island drive-by shooting

At least nine people were injured Thursday evening when an unidentified number of suspects opened fire in a drive-by shooting in Providence, R.I.

Police said the shooting in Rhode Island's capital, which is believed to be the largest in the city's history, was "targeted" and involved "young men" from two feuding groups.

Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements Jr. said that eight of those wounded were shot, while one person was injured by shards of glass, local CBS affiliate WPRI reported.

Clements told reporters during a news conference Thursday evening that three of the gunshot victims were "very seriously injured, maybe critical."

He added that only one of the victims was transported by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital, with the rest taken in private vehicles. 

Following the shooting in the Ocean State's capital, police officers gathered outside of a nearby hospital, according to WPRI reporter Rob Nesbitt.

Police said that the identities of the nine victims, all of which are expected to make a full recovery, will be released on Friday. 

Clements said that the shooting, which occurred outside a home in Providence's southeastern neighborhood of Washington Park, was not believed to be a "random" act of violence. 

"It was targeted at that address," he told reporters, according to ABC News

The police chief indicated that the shooting involved "young men" from two feuding groups that are "well known" to local authorities. 

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said Friday that findings from a preliminary investigation into the shooting revealed that one group equipped with three to five firearms drove up to the home and opened fire on people gathered on the porch area. 

Paré said that at least two people then returned fire, with an estimated total of 20 to 30 shots fired during the encounter. 

Clements on Thursday called the shooting "disappointing," adding, "Despite our best efforts - we've taken a lot of guns off the street this year, almost double the amount of last year - we've spoken about that."

"We don't shy away from the fact we have a gun issue in this city," he added, according to WPRI. 

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza (D), who also spoke at Thursday's press conference, condemned the shooting, adding that gun violence "has to stop." 

"That just can't be the way," he said, according to ABC. "Let the police bring folks to justice. Don't take matters into your own hands - that just escalates the violence and goes back-and-forth to no end. Nobody wins in that."

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) said in a Friday tweet that his "thoughts are with the victims of the shooting and their families."

"Last night, our capital city experienced a devastating act of violence," he wrote. "Together, we can and must do more to end gun violence and keep our communities safe."

The Hill has reached out to the Providence Police Department for further comment.

Updated: May 14 at 12:53 p.m.

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