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Providence shooting: 1 dead, 1 injured on busy I-95; suspect at large

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A midmorning chase and shootout involving several police officers on busy Interstate 95 in Providence left one person dead and one injured Thursday.

The shootout came less than two hours after a suspect being taken to court was left in a state police cruiser alone and stole it, driving it to a Providence neighborhood and abandoning it.

Police initially said the shooting and theft were related, but then said later Thursday that the man who stole the police cruiser is not the same man who got into the shootout less than two hours later.

One man was killed and a woman was injured in the shootout that happened around 10:45 a.m. Police have not identified them.

A medical examiner's vehicle was spotted at the scene, CBS affiliate WPRI-TV reports.

Several prosecutors from the attorney general's office responded to the shooting scene. As per standard policy with any officer-involved shooting, they will conduct a review of the incident along with the city's police department and state police to determine if the use of deadly force was legally justified, said Amy Kempe, a spokesperson for the AG's office.  

Police said several officers were chasing a white pickup truck with two people inside when the shooting happened on a stretch of the interstate that skirts the city's downtown and the Providence Place mall.

A woman in the truck was injured and taken to Rhode Island Hospital in serious condition, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said. Pare said they're reviewing footage from body cameras the responding officers were wearing. No officers were hurt.

"We are actively investigating all the circumstances. There are multiple officers involved in the shooting, and we have one person that is deceased," Pare said. 

The aftermath of a shootout on Interstate 95 in Providence, Rhode Island, on Thu., Nov. 9, 2017. WPRI-TV

Video posted online from witnesses show the driver of a white pickup trading gunfire with numerous police officers as it was trapped in by other cars. The truck sat riddled with bullets on the road Thursday afternoon as police swarmed over the highway looking for shell casings.

Senior prosecutors from the state attorney general's office were also on scene, which is protocol for any officer-involved shooting, according to the office.

The cruiser was taken around 9 a.m. Thursday during a traffic stop on Route 146, police said.

Authorities still are searching for Donald Morgan who is wanted for stealing the cruiser, said State Police Col. Ann Assumpico. He was being transported to court and was left alone and handcuffed in the vehicle when the trooper stepped out to check on an accident, she said.

Anyone with information on Morgan's whereabouts is asked to call Rhode Island State Police at (401) 444-1000.

"I know the trooper did leave the vehicle for a short time," she told reporters. "I want to sort through it. ... You have to understand, when we come upon an accident on the highway, it is our duty to check on the welfare of the people."

Morgan, a 35-year-old Providence resident, was arrested Wednesday on charges of obstruction and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, Assumpico said.

Donald Morgan WPRI-TV

The cruiser was found within the hour abandoned in Providence after police tracked it there with the car's GPS system, but the thief was not located. Police launched a search throughout the neighborhood and were seen searching house-to-house with rifles and dogs.

Emergency management officials asked people to avoid the area around the highway and mall. A robocall from an emergency alert service to downtown Providence offices told people to avoid the area.

"An incident occurred in the downtown Providence area. Multiple road closures and backups on 95," it said.

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