Crime, Local News, News, Northwest, Top Video

3 arrested in shootings of North Providence father, son

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NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — North Providence police say with the help of surveillance video and witness statements they have arrested three suspects in connection with a double shooting that left a father dead and his son critically injured.

Hernan Avila Jr., 46, and his son, Hernan Avila III, 23, were shot outside a convenience store on Humbert Street Sunday night. The older Avila died from his injuries.

Ernest Keosouphanh and Brandyn Pavao were both charged with first degree murder and ordered held without bail following their arraignments Tuesday afternoon. Bail was set at $20,000 for Davante Neves, accused of conspiring to assault the younger Avila.

Police say Keosouphanh was the sole gunman.

The homicide victim’s wife Georgette Avila cried out in court as Keosouphanh was arraigned.

“You murderer,” she said. “You killed a husband and father.”

During Tuesday’s arraignments, Detective William Shurick revealed Avila III was shot eight times from his neck to his hamstring. The family says he underwent two surgeries and is expected to survived.

The elder Avila took one fatal shot to the torso.

Georgette Avila, who was at the scene, said her son was buying juice when a group of people including Pavao approached him asking where to buy marijuana. When he said he didn’t know, an argument ensued.

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Police say Pavao is also charged with murder because he started the argument with Avila and then called Keosouphanh to the scene.

Georgette Avila told police she overhead that alleged phone call.

“I got that punk [expletive] Hernan here,” Detective Shurick repeated in court, quoting Pavao.

Keosouphanh allegedly arrived on the scene in a car with other people and opened fire on both Avila men.

Police said the younger Avila was the target of the shooting, and his father stood in front of gunfire, blocking his son.

It was his final act.

“My father died a hero,” said Avila’s daughter Tatianna Silvestre. “He’s just a great man…he’s going to be very missed.”

“He always taught me to never give up,” said another of Avila’s daughters, Amanda Avila. “Never be weak.”

Amanda Avila shook the hands of each police officer at a news conference announcing the arrests, thanking them for quick action.

Police say they recovered the handgun used in the shootings with the help of the State Police Dive Team. It was found in a body of water in North Providence, though police wouldn’t specify which.

Police said Keosouphanh was out on bail on a sawed-off shotgun possession charge when he allegedly shot the Avilas with yet another gun.

“Unfortunately, that speaks volumes about the system itself and the flaws that are within it,” Acting Police Chief Chris Pelagio said. “It’s frustrating.”

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.

The elder Hernan Avila worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Briarcliffe Manor Nursing Home.

Ernest Keosouphanh, 19, is charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Felony assault with attempt to commit murder (two Counts)
  • Conspiracy to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault with the intent to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault
  • Possession of an altered firearm (9mm handgun)

Brandyn Pavao, 23, is charged with:

  • First-degree murder
  • Felony assault with intent to commit murder
  • Conspiracy to commit murder (two counts)

Davante Neves, 18, is charged with:

  • Conspiracy to commit felony assault

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