PROVIDENCE — A 33-year-old man was fatally shot Saturday night on Huxley Avenue in the Elmhurst neighborhood, Providence police said.
The man, identified as city resident James Owens, was shot outside of a home at 89 Huxley Ave. around 10 p.m. First responders found Owens lying in the driveway suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Major David Lapatin told the Globe on Monday.
The shooting marked the city’s 23rd homicide this year, reflecting an uptick in violence in the state’s capital city over the last few years.
According to the FBI, which uses data submitted by police departments, the last time murders and non-negligent manslaughters were this high was in 2009. Twenty-three people were also killed in 2002 and 2001, according to the FBI data. In 2000, 30 people were killed in Providence. It was less than half the number so far in 2021 as recently as 2018. Data kept by the city and data kept by the FBI can sometimes differ very slightly — the data the city keeps shows 24 homicides in 2009 — but they nevertheless paint a clear picture of rising deadly violence.
“My heart is breaking for the victim, their family, and our community as a whole. Tragedies like this shake our community and our city, and I know that these crimes do not represent who we are here in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza in a statement Sunday. “The availability of guns and the amount of firepower on our streets is simply unacceptable.”
Lapatin said a weapon has not been found, but that police have located several shell casings.
“Too many guns are on our streets. Too many young people are dying senselessly from gun violence. I’m committed to giving Providence Police the resources they need for this investigation,” said Council President John J. Igliozzi, who represents Ward 7, on Sunday.
Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, who represents Ward 5 in Providence, said the city’s police force must be strengthened through recruitment and training. “We need more officers on the streets,” she said.
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune of Ward 3, who is running for mayor, said as the city grapples with another murder during a “season that is supposed to be filled with joy and celebration,” she called on her colleagues in government, public safety officials, and community members to “put an end to this senseless violence.”
“This is an issue that affects not only Providence, but our entire state. As we approach 2022, I hope we can work within communities to take a restorative approach to these issues,” said LaFortune. “We must keep working for the those who have lost a son, brother, husband, or friend; not just last night, but every time a family has faced tragedy like this in our city.”
The shooting took place near Providence College, but had no connection to the university itself, police said.
Police described the shooting as “targeted,” although investigators do not know if the assailant was in the house or came by car. Owens lived in the house, Lapatin said.
Lapatin cited the wide availability of guns in the city. Police have taken a record number of weapons off the streets this year, which has prevented untold amounts of violence, Lapatin said.
“This is a safe city,” Lapatin said.
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