[anvplayer video=”962146″ /] NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Georgette Avila is looking for answers after she says she watched her husband jump in front of gunfire aimed at her son Sunday night.
Police are searching for possible suspects after the father and son duo were shot in a convenience store parking lot on Humbert Street in North Providence Sunday night.
Police say the father, 46-year-old Hernan Avila, died of his injuries. The son, 23-year-old Hernan Avila, is in critical condition.
“My husband jumped in front of my son and took the bullets for him,” Georgette Avila told Eyewitness News. She said she witnessed the shooting.
Avila said her son was out buying juice when a group of people approached him asking where to buy marijuana, but he didn’t know.
“He was upset,” Avila explained. She says it turned into an argument.
“He said ‘I was just asking you man,’ and it escalated,” Avila said.
That’s when another car full of people arrived on the scene, she explained.
“Four guys jumped out of the car and started shooting my son,” she said tearfully. Avila isn’t sure if just one person had a gun or multiple people.
North Providence Acting Police Chief Chris Pelagio says the number of gunmen is still under investigation.
“We are following up all the leads that we have available to us at this point to make sure justice is served,” Chief Pelagio said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Pelagio said police are investigating if and how the suspects and victims know each other, and are leaning towards a targeted attack. He said the public is not in danger. He said the motive of the shooting is still under investigation.
Mrs. Avila said her son recognized at least one of the people from high school.
“My son right now is still fighting for his life,” she said.
The younger Hernan Avila, known by family and friends as Jay, works in the fast food industry and recently enlisted in the National Guard, his family said.
His sister Tatianna Silvestre says she ran to the convenience store as soon as she heard about the shooting Sunday night.
“By the time I got here, my brother was laying over there, his blood going down the street,” she told Eyewitness News in the parking lot where the shooting happened. “My father was sitting up, I thought he was ok…I didn’t even know he was shot.”
The elder Hernan Avila later succumbed to his injuries. His family says he worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Briarcliffe Manor Nursing Home.
“My father, he’s taken care of me since I was three months old,” Silvestre said. She explained that Avila is not her biological father, but she called him “Dad,” and he raised her. “It’s very hard for me.”
Police have not named any suspects in the shooting nor have they released any descriptions of the suspects or their cars. Anyone with information is urged to call North Providence Police.
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