A Rhode Island man was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for his involvement in a shootout with police officers in Attleboro, Massachusetts which happened after the officers responded to a call about a break-in at a church in 2018.
Eric Lindsey, 45, of Coventry, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to indictments charging him with armed assault with intent to murder, breaking and entering during the daytime, possession of a high capacity firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and two counts of carrying an illegal firearm.
According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, police were first called in by a pastor at the Assembly of God Church in Newport Avenue on August 27, 2018. The pastor reported that he had found a man armed with a gun inside the building when he arrived around 6:30 a.m. The man spoke to the pastor, then left with the gun and two backpacks. No one was hurt during the exchange.
Prosecutors said the officers found the man, later identified as Lindsey, about a mile from the church, on Newport Avenue. When the officers used the PA system to order him to drop the backpacks, Lindsey opened fire at one of the officers, who was driving a cruiser.
The DA's office said the officer had to jump out of the cruiser and then pulled his own weapon, exchanging gunfire with Lindsey as he ran for cover. The second officer also pulled his weapon. After firing multiple shots, Lindsey fell to the ground. Police reported that when backup officers arrived and tried to help Lindsey, he reportedly told them to let him die.
The officers provided emergency treatment and Lindsey was taken to the hospital for further treatment. Neither officer was seriously hurt, but the DA's office said there were bulletholes in the headrest of one cruiser, where one of the officers had been sitting just seconds before.
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Police described the officers involved as rookies at the time.
Lindsey was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in state prison and five years of probation, which will include GPS monitoring and mandatory mental health treatment.
"This defendant tried to kill two police officers after being caught breaking into a church building. The police put their lives on the line everyday responding to situations that can quickly turn violent and deadly," District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in a media release. "This defendant clearly had no regard for their lives and needs to be kept off the streets for a long time. The officers should be commended for quickly saving the defendant’s life, even after being fired upon by him."
The 2018 shootout played out on a busy street during rush hour.