On Thursday, Oct. 31 at approximately 8:23 a.m., the Richmond Police Department was notified by the Westerly Dispatch Center that they had received a 9-1- 1 call from the Wawaloam Campground at 510 Gardiner Road, Richmond, reporting that a 78-year-old woman had been injured after being shot in the abdomen, and they were requesting police to respond.
Lieutenant John Arnold arrived on scene and spoke with the victim, Maureen Smith, age 78, of 516 Gardiner Road, Richmond, RI, who was conscious and alert when she identified her assailant as Daniel Brown, age 77, of 510 Gardiner Road, Unit 14, Richmond, RI. Mrs. Smith was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by Hope Valley Ambulance Corps.
Investigation revealed that Daniel Brown had lived at the campground for several years, but due to concerns for his health and ability to care for himself, the Smith family notified him that he needed to vacate the premises. Police interviewed several witnesses and learned that Brown had driven to the home of Maureen Smith, and approached her home. Moments later, witnesses heard several gunshots, and then saw Brown returning to his pickup truck. Meanwhile, Smith, escaped her home after she climbed out of a window (single story home), and ran to her daughter’s residence.
One of the witnesses who heard the shots climbed into his truck to try and intercept Brown’s vehicle before he left the campground. As Brown made his way through the campground towards the exit, he observed an adult son of Maureen Smith, and pointed his weapon (a small caliber revolver) from the open driver’s side window of his truck, and fired a shot at him but missed. Brown then encountered the earlier referenced male witness who was also in a vehicle, and fired a shot at him but reportedly missed. Brown then fled the Campground in his pickup truck traveling north on Gardiner Road into the Town of Exeter, with the witness pursuing him in his own vehicle while calling 9-1-1 to notify the RI State Police of their whereabouts.
Several members of the Rhode Island State Police converged on the area to locate the suspect, and subsequently secured a perimeter in the area of New London Turnpike and Bell Schoolhouse Road, where the suspect had stopped his pickup truck. As RI State Police were on scene, they reported hearing a single gunshot from the area of Brown’s vehicle. They subsequently found him dead in his vehicle from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Smith is recovering from surgery at Rhode Island Hospital for gunshot wounds to her chest, abdomen, and hand, and has been listed in stable condition at this time.