WESTERLY, R.I. (AP/WBZ NewsRadio) — A shooting at a Rhode Island affordable housing complex for elderly and disabled residents left two people dead and two others injured Thursday morning, police said.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said a 66-year-old gunman killed a 47-year-old woman at the Babcock Village apartment complex and injured two others, a 38-year-old woman and a 66-year-old woman.
The gunman then killed himself. He was found dead in his apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lacey said.
One of the victims is in critical condition at Westerly Hospital and is being transported to Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, according to Lacey. The other is undergoing surgery at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
Police haven’t identified the victims other than to say the one killed worked at the complex, as did one of the survivors. The other survivor was a resident.
State Police Col. James Manni said authorities are still investigating what might have prompted the shooting, including any issues the man might have had with staff. He said a single handgun was recovered at the scene.
Lacey also acknowledged his department has had dealings with the suspect in the past, but declined to elaborate. He added that Westerly, a town along the Connecticut state line where Taylor Swift owns a mansion, is a “low crime” community.
“Never any crimes of this nature, obviously,” he said.
Law enforcement officials from Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts assisted in the response.
Westerly public schools, the local hospital and nearby businesses were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
"All schools remain locked down. There is no verifiable threat to any buildings. We are in ongoing communication with WPD and will lift the lockdown at their direction," a post from Westerly Public School's Facebook stated.
Police lifted the lockdown at about 12:45 p.m. and the school district dismissed students early.
Westerly resident and Christ Episcopal Church Administrator Jackie Smith spoke with WBZ NewsRadio as her church was locked down.
"There's a lot of anxiety. A lot of our parishioners are at Babcock Village and a lot of the outreach we do is also there," Smith said. "We are on lock down right now and we are getting phone calls because this is a very active church and we can't let anyone in, we have a living supplies closet that the community relies on and we had to close that too."
The complex’s owner, Affordable Housing Strategies, Inc. and manager, Property Advisory Group, said in a joint statement that they were “shocked and saddened that this tragedy has occurred.”
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