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Rhode Island police investigating three separate homicides in Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Cumberland

According to officials, in the span of a few hours over the weekend, two fatal stabbings and a fatal shooting occurred

Sharita Watkins, 28, is arraigned in Providence District Court on Monday.Amanda Milkovits/Globe Staff

Police in Rhode Island are investigating after three people were killed in different parts of the state on Saturday.

According to officials, in the span of a few hours over the weekend, fatal stabbings occurred in both Pawtucket and Cumberland, while a fatal shooting took place in Central Falls.

On Saturday night, Pawtucket police received a call around 10:15 p.m. from Sharita Watkins, 28, who reported that she “killed her mother” with a knife. Watkins was arraigned in Providence District Court on Monday, and was charged with the unlawful killing of her mother, Mary Melendez, with malice aforethought. Special Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Burke waived the reading of the allegations against the 28-year-old woman. The judge ordered Watkins held without bail, and no plea was entered, as is customary in felony cases at district court. Melendez is scheduled for a bail hearing on Oct. 4.


Pawtucket police arrived at the trailer park on Saturday where Watkins lived with her mother, and discovered Melendez had been stabbed. She was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Watkins was interviewed by detectives and “gave a full confession,” said Detective Sergeant Theodore Georgitsis. Detectives and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation are looking into the matter, he said.

About an hour earlier, police in Central Falls responded to an incident at the corner of Dexter Street and Sumner Avenue. Investigators say the victim, who is being identified only as a Hispanic male in his 20s, was walking to his car after leaving work when he was shot multiple times, WPRI reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe the victim worked at a nearby barbershop and the suspect was waiting for him when his shift ended. Police believe the victim was targeted, WPRI reported.


Police are also investigating a fatal stabbing in Cumberland that occurred Saturday afternoon, an incident in which investigators also believe the victim was targeted.

Otis Diggs, 40, was attacked on Saturday at an Ashton Historic District apartment complex, according to officials. Police were called to the scene at around 3 p.m. for a reported stabbing, and found Diggs and attempted to assist him with CPR. Diggs was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Video taken by a neighbor moments after the attack shows a group of about five people standing over Diggs’s motionless body on the sidewalk, in front of 16 Front St. One person appeared to be giving CPR while the sound of approaching sirens and a person’s cries could be heard.

Police have not released any details about a suspect in the case.

“No updates to provide. I am not going to speak about scene dynamics. No arrests have been made in this case,” Cumberland Police Chief Matthew Benson said on Monday.

Police and Mayor Jeffrey Mutter also told the Globe over the weekend that “the public is not in any danger” and that the attack was not “a random act.” Benson said Diggs was the only person harmed during the incident.

The Cumberland homicide marks the first since the murder-suicide of a couple last July, which was the town’s first homicide in seven years.

Alexa Gagosz, Carlos R. Muñoz, and Amanda Milkovits contributed to this report.


This story has been updated.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her @brittbowker and also on Instagram @brittbowker.