R.I. cop fatally shoots attacker

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COVENTRY, R.I. (AP) – A police officer shot and killed a man who allegedly lunged at him with a three-foot metal crowbar early Saturday morning, police officials said.

Police didn’t release the man’s name, but he was identified as Timothy Gileau by a neighbor, Laura Warner, who had known Gileau since he was a boy and saw him get shot.

“He was a fine gentleman,” Warner said. “I’ve been here since 1973 and I’ve never seen any trouble with him.”

Coventry Police Chief Brian O’Rourke said he wouldn’t immediately identify the dead man or the officer who opened fire. He said the confrontation began when someone called 911 around 3:50 a.m. to report a disturbance outside a small blue house near Route 3.

Warner said she awoke to the sound of shouting and swearing. Looking out her bedroom window, she saw Gileau pounding violently on an all-terrain vehicle parked behind the home he shared with his mother. He wasn’t wearing a shirt in the early morning chill, she said.

When police officers arrived, they spotted several men on the front lawn, including one waving a crowbar over his head, O’Rourke said. He didn’t know exactly how many bystanders or officers were at the home.

The man ignored repeated orders from police to drop the metal bar, and he rushed at the officers several times, O’Rourke said. He raised the crowbar over his head and charged at an officer, who shot him once in the abdomen, O’Rourke said.

Gileau collapsed near a pine tree just across from his home, Warner said.

Police said the injured man was taken to Kent County Hospital, where he was declared dead. No police officers were hurt, O’Rourke said.

The officer who opened fire, an 11-year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave, a standard procedure whenever a Coventry police officer is involved in a fatal shooting.

“This is certainly not punishment in any way. The officer’s very, very upset, as any person would be in a situation like this,” O’Rourke said.

Coventry detectives will investigate the shooting to determine whether the officer followed departmental policies governing the use of force. State Police detectives are investigating to determine whether the killing was legally justified.

A prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office will review the State Police findings and determine whether the case should be presented to a grand jury, Assistant Attorney General William Ferland said.

Family members gathered at the Gileau home declined to comment on the shooting.

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