EAST PROVIDENCE — As a resident of the city and obviously a well-known figure because of his position, East Providence Police Chief Christopher Parella empathizes with those who live and work around the 2402 Pawtucket Ave. location where Yusef A’Vant was gunned down by an assailant Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 13.
The chief understands the concern and trepidation some in the city may have about the most recent act of gun violence and murder, the latter the first to take place in East Providence in almost exactly two years.
“They are nervous. Who wouldn’t be?” Chief Parella said while discussing the case Friday afternoon, Aug. 15. “This is part of their neighborhood, my neighborhood. I know these people. But let me say this, this was no random act. The victim was targeted. We’re letting that be known. The residents should understand that and take it as a signal. It should make them feel a bit better.”
On the job for some six weeks and only the last two in a permanent capacity, Chief Parella has, however, been a resident of East Providence since he joined the force nearly a quarter century ago. So this incident truly does “hit home” for this.
“I take this personally. We take this personally as a department,” the chief said. “These are friends and neighbors of mine in that area. I live there. I have for 25 years. I don’t get in the car each night and go to East Greenwich or Cranston or Newport. I live right here. Most of the command staff lives in East Providence. We’re confident there is no eminent threat to the residents. This was an isolated incident. We’ll find who did this. We’ll get there, but it’s a process.”
The chief said part of the process took hold Friday morning when the department released a sketch of the suspect in the case. The drawing was gleaned by artist from the reports of witnesses to the incident.
“There’s an awful lot of stuff to get through. I don’t want to say we know who are suspect is, but we’re getting there,” Chief Parella added. “The residents of the city and family of the victim should have faith in the East Providence Police and their neighbors.
“It takes a coordinated effort between law enforcement and residents to solve a case like this, and there’s always been good synergy between the residents of this city and the police department. The people should be assured we’ll find who did this and we will bring him to justice.”