Nine people were injured Thursday in Providence, Rhode Island, in what police believe to be the largest shooting in city history.
Multiple guns were used in a shootout in which some 50 shots were fired just before 7 p.m. Thursday involving an "ongoing feud" between two groups known to authorities, according to Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh T. Clements. A group in a pickup truck fired at another group outside a house, which then returned fire.
Of the nine wounded, three had serious injuries and were "maybe critical," Clements said. Detectives were at the hospital interviewing the victims, who are mostly men between the ages of 19 and 25.
Clements said Friday criminal charges are being finalized and the names of those involved will be released later.
He stressed the shooting wasn't random but part of an ongoing feud between two rival groups. Police will be stepping up patrols to discourage further violence.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza held a prayer service with members of the faith community near the scene of the shooting Friday.
"What happened yesterday is not normal, and we can't allow it to be normalized," he said.
The shooting began with gunfire emanating from a vehicle, targeting a home in the southeastern neighborhood of Washington Park. A person or people inside the home then returned fire, according to Clements. He described the participants as "young men."
An estimated several dozen shots were fired, according to Clements. Evidence markers on scene showed where more than a dozen shell casings littered the ground. Police sealed off the area.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said eight people were shot, with a ninth being injured by something other than a bullet.
One person was shot multiple times, Pare added.
Clements described the neighborhood as typically quiet.
No arrests have been made. Clements stressed the investigation was in its early stages.
Clements said police have made strides to get guns off the streets and thus called the shooting "very disappointing." The suspects and the victims "might be one and the same," he said, without providing further details.
"We don’t shy away from the fact that we have a gun issue in this city. It’s unfortunate young men in this community have no regard for life at times," Clements said. "There'll be names you may recognize; we certainly know from police work."
Prior to this shooting, Providence had seen 19 gunshot victims and seven homicide victims by gunfire in 2021, according to Clements.
Elorza promised extra patrols and security in the neighborhood for the coming days.
"I've spoken with a number of the neighbors, and everyone is shaken," Elorza said.
Elorza also exhorted city residents to stop using gun violence to settle feuds, and criticized the ready availability of guns.
"This has to stop," Elorza said. "The young people involved, believing that the way to solve their disputes is with a handgun — I mean, that can't be the way."