Three Providence men were arrested as a result of a joint investigation by the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department after a report of shots fired on Interstate 95 in Providence early Saturday morning.
On Saturday, August 9th at approximately 4:50 AM the Lincoln Woods Barracks received E-911 phone calls reporting a one car crash on Route 95 north at the Route 146 overpass in the City of Providence. One caller advised the office Trooper that the three male occupants fled on foot towards Orms Street and described the clothing the occupants were wearing. Troopers were dispatched to the crash and the Providence Police Department was notified of the information.
Approximately five minutes later, the Lincoln Woods Barracks received another call from a Providence man who was traveling to work on Route 95 north, in the area of the State Offices exit when a white car occupied by three male individuals pulled up beside him and subsequently fired three rounds into his vehicle. The victim said that he was unharmed and had stopped on the highway in the area of Branch Avenue.
When Troopers arrived on the scene of the one car crash, a witness confirmed that three Hispanic males fled the scene in the direction of the Marriott Hotel on Orms Street. Troopers observed a spent .40 caliber shell casing on the floorboard of the crashed car and observed three bullet holes in the driver's side door of the victim's car with one slug imbedded into the interior of the door.
About ten minutes after the initial report of the crash, Providence Police Officers responded to the Marriot Hotel on Orms Street for a report of three suspicious men. The Providence Officers located and detained the following men:
• Raul Otero, age 22, of 24 Beecher Street, Pawtucket, RI
• Jovani L. Velez, age 20, of 28 Cottage Street, Apt. 1, Central Falls, RI
• Ramon Escotto, age 23, of 270D Chad Brown Street, Providence, RI
Troopers from the Lincoln Woods Barracks responded to the Marriott Hotel and with assistance from the Providence Officers transported Otero, Velez and Escotto to State Police Headquarters.
After investigation, all three subjects were charged with the following criminal violations:
1. Assault & Battery-Dangerous Weapon
2. Carrying a Pistol without a License
3. Drive By Shooting
4. Carrying a Dangerous Weapon when Committing a Crime of Violence
5. Alteration of Marks of Identification on a Firearm
This afternoon the three suspects were arraigned before a justice of the peace at State Police Headquarters. Raul Otero was presented as a Probation Violator and held without bail. Bail for Jovani L. Velez and Ramon Escotto was set at $250,000.00 with surety and they were held at the Adult Correctional Institute when they failed to post bail. All three men will appear on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 in Sixth Division District Court for a bail review.
The investigation revealed that Jovani Velez was previously stopped driving the crashed car, which is registered to his former girlfriend. State Police K-9 Sam located a loaded .40 caliber semi automatic pistol in some bushes near the front entry way of the Marriott Hotel. The investigation is continuing.
The penalty for a person convicted of Drive-by Shootings is imprisoned for not less than ten (10) years nor more than twenty (20) years. The penalty for a person convicted of Assault or Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years. The penalty for the first conviction of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon When Committing a Crime of Violence is imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years. The penalty for a person convicted of Carrying a Pistol without a License is imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years.