Fatal Shooting

RI Shooting Suspect Lied About His Past on Gun Application, Police Say

Joseph Giachello wrote on a firearms application that he had never been treated or confined for a mental illness, according to police

Authorities sweep a retirement facility in search for a gunman on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 in Westerly, Rhode Island.
NBC10 Boston/WJAR

The man who opened fire in a Rhode Island affordable housing complex in December lied on the application to purchase the firearm used in the shooting, according to information released by police.

Joseph Giachello wrote that he had never been treated or confined for a mental illness on the application to buy a .38-caliber revolver, according to Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson.

Court and police records indicate that Giachello had been hospitalized after threatening to kill himself and his estranged wife in 2002. Giachello was also recommended for a hospital evaluation in April of 2003 when police in Stonington, Connecticut, determined he could be a danger to himself or others.

While potential firearm buyers are asked to disclose if they have been treated or confined for mental illness, the Providence Journal reported Tuesday that Giachello would not necessarily have been blocked from buying a weapon if he had given his history.

In Rhode Island, the local police department conducts a background check using federal and state databases when a person attempts to buy a gun. Background checks were run on Giachello on Nov. 15 and Dec. 9. Neither check provided results that would have disqualified him, according to police.

Contact Us