CUMBERLAND, R.I. — The fatal shooting of a couple in their home on a quiet street near Arnold Mills Reservoir left their neighbors and loved ones feeling shattered Wednesday.
The police were called about a shooting at the house at 28 Birchwood Dr. around 6:40 a.m. and found the two dead at the scene, said Chief Matthew J. Benson. The other residents in the home were unharmed.
The police did not release the names of the two who died, but said they were known to each other, and that the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident. The circumstances were under investigation.
“The Cumberland Police Department offers its thoughts and prayers to the family, friends and loved ones of those who were affected by this tragedy,” the chief said in a statement.
Their neighbors were stunned and grieving. The couple had three children, and their family had been part of the fabric of the families and older longtime residents on this small street, where there are just 11 homes.
“They were wonderful neighbors, a wonderful family, and wonderful kids,” said Clara Neville, whose daughter was friends with the woman who died.
Polly and Robert Boynes, who’ve lived on Birchwood Drive for 50 years, were shaken.
“Our granddaughter taught all three kids at Community School,” Boynes said. “She is really distraught.”
Violent crime is rare in Cumberland — the last homicide was seven years ago — and rarer still for this neighborhood off Nate Whipple Highway.
Mayor Jeff Mutter said it was a tragic day for the town.
“I know I speak for all of us when I say this is devastating news. I am grateful for our first responders who have been out there all day serving Cumberland,” Mutter said in a Facebook post. “I am holding the family, their friends, neighbors, loved ones, and our entire Cumberland community in my thoughts and prayers today. Be good to each other.”
Some of the residents on this small, semi-circle street said they are close-knit enough to know one another’s children and grandchildren. This family was part of their community, and the neighbors struggled to understand what happened at 28 Birchwood Dr.
“It’s a shame. It’s a tragedy. I feel so bad for the children,” said Mrs. Boynes.
The Boynes said they didn’t hear any commotion overnight, but they noticed the police presence on their street in the morning.
“This is something in this neighborhood that we’d never expect in a million years,” Boynes said. “It’s a shock. It really is a shock.”