9 wounded, 3 in serious condition, after Rhode Island shooting; police searching for suspects

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (NewsNation Now) — Nine people were wounded in a shooting Thursday evening in Rhode Island’s capital in what police there believe to be the largest shooting in city history.

Of the nine, three were critically wounded in the shooting just before 7 p.m, Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh T. Clements told reporters at the scene.

Clements said only one of the victims was transported by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital. The others transported themselves.

“We have a good handle on everyone that is involved in this incident,” Verdi said. “The assailant group pulled up in a car, and the other group was at a home … They’re well known to Providence Police.”

Clements said multiple guns were used and it involved an “ongoing feud” involving groups known to authorities. He said the shooting began with gunfire emanating from a vehicle, targeting a home. A person or people inside the home then returned fire.

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The shooting took place in the southeastern neighborhood of Washington Park, which Clements described as a typically private neighborhood.

Witnesses at the scene said multiple shots were fired outside a home; Clements later said an estimated several dozen shots were fired. Evidence markers showing where more than a dozen shell casings littered the ground could be seen in the distance. Police sealed off the area.

The victims, who have not been identified by name, include eight men and one woman, all between the ages of 19 and 25. No arrests have been made, however, Clements said the shooting was not random and stemmed from a feud between two groups.

Clements believes this could possibly be the largest shooting in the city’s history, and said this classifies as a mass shooting by federal standards. He also called the situation “very disappointing.”

“We have taken a lot of guns off the streets this year,” Clements said. “We don’t shy away from the fact that we have a gun issue in this city. It’s unfortunate that young men in this community have no regard for life at times.”

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he spoke to several neighbors as officers continued their investigation.

“Everyone is shaken,” he said. “I’ve lived through it as well with shootings outside my house and it’s unnerving. You clutch your family a little bit tighter that night.”

Samantha Neves lives nearby and said the incident has left her and her neighbors terrified.

“I couldn’t even believe it,” Neves said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve been living here now for close to five years. One of the reasons me and my husband moved here because it’s a quieter part [of the city].”

Elorza said in response to the incident, Providence Police will be stepping up its patrols in the neighborhood.

“They shouldn’t have anything to worry about and we’ll do everything we can to make sure they’re not only safe, but also feel safe,” he said.

Clements estimates those involved fired several dozen rounds from at least five guns. Elorza said this proves their efforts to remove guns from the city’s streets are far from over.

“It’s just too easy to access these guns, and we have to do something about that,” Elorza said.

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The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WPRI contributed to this report.

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