Mass state police cruiser

SEEKONK — A man who shot himself last Thursday after fleeing state police died at the hospital over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

The man, identified as Derek P. Belanger, 38, of East Providence, died Saturday afternoon at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said.

State police had earlier identified the man as a Seekonk resident.

Belanger shot himself inside an SUV on Route 6 in the area of the Seekonk Speedway last Thursday afternoon, according to Gregg Miliote, a spokesperson for the DA’s office.

The incident remains under investigation.

A preliminary investigation revealed that shortly after 3 p.m. last Thursday, Swansea police received a 911 call about a man who showed a gun, Miliote said.

The witness reported he was at the Cumberland Farms on Route 6 in Swansea when Belanger displayed a gun and said something to the effect of “somebody should call 911,” Miliote said.

Belanger got into a 2005 Mercedes SUV and sat in the vehicle several minutes before eventually driving out of the parking lot, Miliote said.

Swansea police subsequently sent out a radio bulletin to surrounding towns regarding the vehicle and the report.

A state trooper who happened to be in the area at the time spotted the SUV and attempted to pull it over but Belanger continued to drive on Route 6 through Rehoboth and into Seekonk, Miliote said.

At this point, the trooper was joined in the pursuit by officers from Seekonk and Swansea, and Belanger eventually stopped near Seekonk Speedway.

After ignoring the state trooper’s commands to get out of the vehicle, police watched as Belanger reached his right hand out of the driver’s side window of the vehicle while brandishing a firearm, Miliote said.

In order to protect themselves, the officers moved to the rear of their cruisers and heard a single gunshot come from Belanger’s vehicle.

“When the officers approached Belanger’s vehicle, they found him unconscious in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with the handgun in his right hand,” Miliote said.

Belanger was removed from the vehicle and given first aid before being rushed to Rhode Island Hospital.

He was the only person in the SUV.

No police officers discharged their weapons or were injured, according to Seekonk Police Chief David Enos.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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(1) comment

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