State Police speak out on Morgan investigation

WJAR

Rhode Island State Police captured a suspect who was wanted for stealing a state police cruiser. The search for that suspect led to a fatal shooting on I-95 in Providence Thursday morning.

State Police said Donald Morgan was captured in Cumberland Friday evening by the Rhode Island Fugitive Task Force.

He was found in a residence on Vermont Avenue, which resulted in the additional arrests of 54 year old Daniel Medeiros, and 47 year old Rachael Read, who are both charged with harboring a criminal.

"A taser was used and there was a physical altercation, the extent of which is still under investigation, but he (Morgan) was cleared at the hospital with no glaring injuries other than the injuries he sustained in the accident when he stole the car the first night," said Major Dennis Flemming of the Rhode Island State Police at a news conference Saturday morning.

Flemming was referring to an accident Wednesday in which Morgan was arrested for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He was injured in that accident and after being treated at the hospital, was held at State Police Barracks overnight.

It was Thursday morning, while Morgan was being transported to court by a Rhode Island State Trooper, the trooper stopped to assist in a car accident. Morgan allegedly jumped in the front seat and stole the cruiser.

State Police Superintendent Col. Ann Assumpico said Morgan’s hands were handcuffed in front of him, which is at the trooper’s discretion.

"Because, depending on an injury, you cannot properly secure somebody safely if they're injured, which is why this person was handcuffed in the front," said Col. Assumpico referring to Morgan.

Col. Assumpico did not identify the trooper, but said he followed the department’s policies and protocols with his actions, including stopping for the accident and leaving Morgan in the cruiser, which did not have a barrier between the front and back seats; the Colonel says most of their vehicles don't, but that will be reviewed.

"Especially being an accredited agency when an incident like this happens, we'll further look into it to revise, and look into getting more vehicles with a barrier," she said.

Colonel Assumpico says four Rhode Island State Troopers were among the Providence police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Joseph Santos that ensued after Morgan escaped with the stolen police cruiser. Police had developed information that Morgan was seen getting into a white truck. Col. Assumpico said at this point, they have not made a connection between Morgan and the white truck Santos was in, but the investigation is ongoing.

Colonel Assumpico also said while the use of deadly force by her troopers is still under investigation, she believes the actions of law enforcement that day saved lives.

"I think the video speaks for itself," she said of DOT camera footage that shows Santos ramming his truck into other vehicles while trying to flee.

"I have to again commend all law enforcement agencies out there, and our sympathy goes out to the family of Joseph Santos, this was a tragic loss of life too," she added.

Morgan, Medeiros and Read were all to be arraigned at State Police Headquarters on Saturday.

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