Providence, RI — A Rhode Island State Trooper was driving Donald Morgan, 35, to a court appearance on obstruction and possession of a stolen motor vehicle charges Thursday morning when the trooper left the man alone inside the cruiser at a crash on Route 146. Morgan then jumped into the driver's seat of the cruiser and sped off. Hours later, as police were looking for Morgan, they came across a random couple in a white pickup truck, thinking it was Morgan. Multiple cops opened fire into the truck killing the driver and wounding the passenger—it was not Morgan.
"We are actively investigating all the circumstances. There are multiple officers involved in the shooting, and we have one person that is deceased," Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said in a press conference on Thursday, adding, "no officers have been hurt."
Initially, police told the public that the cruiser theft and the deadly and insanely dangerous shooting that took place on I-95 were related. However, Thursday afternoon police announced that Morgan was still at large and the person killed by police was not wanted for the theft of the police cruiser.
According to police, they were on the lookout for a white pickup truck which they believed Morgan was driving. When an officer saw a white truck he pulled it over.
A Cranston officer saw a white Ford F150 driving “erratically” in the city shortly afterward, and attempted to pull the driver over. The truck stopped, but when the Cranston officer got out of his car, the driver “took off at a decent clip,” Cranston Police Col. Michael Winquist said. The truck swerved, made illegal turns, and sped past stop signs evading the police, the Providence Journal reported.
Police have no idea why the driver of the white truck took off. However, it cost him his life and put countless other citizens in danger as dozens of cops initiated pursuit driving at dangerously high speeds down the interstate.
They were going so fast that “they were almost endangering their lives,” Michael Perry, 42, a Cranston building contractor, who filmed the shooting said. “I knew something was going on.”
Perry then described hearing a loud "pop"—likely the pickup truck crashing into the car in front of him—as more than a dozen cops swarmed the truck. "I pulled the camera out and held it through the sunroof to capture whatever was happening," Perry said.
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The shocking video captures at least a half-dozen officers open fire on the pickup truck at close range. After the volley of gunfire, it appears as if the dead driver's foot slips onto the accelerator and the truck's back tires begin spinning so fast that a massive cloud of smoke forms around the area.
Had so many lives not been in danger from this response, it would've been comical. As the cloud of smoke began to form, police scattered from the scene, abandoning a situation they likely caused as the innocent motorists are left to fend for themselves.
“It happened so fast,” Perry said. "All of the discharge from gunfire appeared to come from outside the truck," Perry said.
Luckily, none of the innocent citizens close to the scene were hit by one of the many stray bullets.
“We’re investigating ... why this individual did not stop and why police officers had to use deadly force,” Paré said Thursday.
Whether or not the couple inside the truck was armed is unknown at the moment. However, as Perry noted, all the gunfire appeared to come from cops. When looking at the video, it was entirely clear that this white truck was trapped and was unable to go anywhere. Even when the driver's foot slammed the gas down after he was killed, the truck still didn't move.
The use of deadly force in this instance appears to have been a danger to the public and largely unnecessary. Yes, police have to make quick decisions, however, when watching the video below, their quick and deadly decisions endangered innocent lives, ended one, and possibly will end another life.
Below is a video compilation of the shooting from multiple angles. When watching the first one, take note that the passenger's door opens, indicating that the woman in the truck was likely complying with police orders to exit the vehicle, however, she was trapped by the car next to her.