Tiverton man shot by police served time for manslaughter, sex assault

Edward Aquisto (Rhode Island Department of Corrections photo)

Police on Tuesday identified the suspect in a cemetery killing who was later fatally shot by police.

Authorities say 80-year-old Edward Acquisto of Tiverton shot and killed 81-year-old John Cloud of Kingston, Massachusetts, at the Pocasset Hill Cemetery in Tiverton about 6:50 p.m. Monday.

People who were in the cemetery at the time called 911.

"They were visiting loved ones' grave sites and heard the commotion, heard the gunshots and called police via 911 calls," said Chief Thomas Blakey of the Tiverton Police Department.

While a motive for the killing is still unclear, police said it was a prearranged meeting between Acquisto and Cloud.

"It was not a random act. We want to assure the public of that," said Blakey. "The victim and the suspect knew each other."

Witnesses gave police a description of the suspect's vehicle, which police in Fall River spotted a short time later. They briefly pursued Acquisto back into Tiverton, where he pulled into a driveway on Ford Farm Road.

"Once Fall River police officers chased him to that road, they were joined by Tiverton police officers. The suspect exited the vehicle fired upon the officers, the officers returned fire," said Chief Daniel Racine of the Fall River Police Department.

When NBC 10 News went to Acquisto's Tiverton address Tuesday, a woman inside refused to come out and had no comment.

"Go back to the police department," she said.

Acquisto's next-door neighbor said what she knew of him, he was a quiet person who kept to himself.

"He had a very slow, very delicate walk, you know, I'm truly really shocked," said Jean Medeiros. "He was very fragile, very delicate. He can just about walk."

But Acquisto did prison time for sexually assaulting an ex-girlfriend, as well as for manslaughter in the beating death of a man. Both crimes took place in Woonsocket during the late 1970s.

The officers who shot and killed Acquisto are on administrative leave, per procedure.

NBC 10 has learned Acquisto has a violent past.

In 1982, Acquisto pleaded no contest to an amended charge of manslaughter in the 1978 beating death of a man in Woonsocket. He was sentenced to 10 years to serve, 10 years suspended, and 10 years of probation.

That sentence was to be served concurrently to a life sentence he was already serving for sexually assaulting an ex-girlfriend in Woonsocket in 1979.

Acquisto was paroled in 2003.

Two Fall River officers and a Tiverton officer involved in shooting Acquisto have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

The attorney general will present the case to a grand jury to decide if the use of deadly force was justified.

Both the killing of Cloud and the fatal shooting of Acquisto by police are being investigated jointly by Tiverton police, the state attorney general and Rhode Island State Police. Fall River police and the Bristol County District Attorney are also part of the investigation into the officer -involved shooting.

"On behalf of the investigators of all the agencies involved, our condolences go out to the families," said Capt. Matthew Moynihan of Rhode Island State Police.

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