EAST PROVIDENCE â When Brown University employee Norman Morse arrived at home following his 3:30 a.m.-noon shift at about 12:25 p.m., Tuesday, he expected to find his Vincent Street neighborhood serene as usual.
Instead, he found several police cruisers surrounding the residence at 94 Hazard Avenue, the site of an apparent murder-suicide.
âI saw all of this commotion, so I decided to see what the heck was going on,â stated Morse, one of a couple of dozen neighbors staring disbelievingly at the white cottage with blue shutters. âThis blows my mind. It's a very, very sad day for the people who live around here, for the people of East Providence.
âI grew up on Progress Avenue, which is right over there,â he added, pointing south. âI've never seen anything like this. It's a really quiet neighborhood. Things like this just don't happen around here.â
Maj. Charles Swenson indicated to The Times later Tuesday afternoon that a man and woman had been found dead in the home at approximately 11 a.m. Officers responded to a home on nearby Jenks Street at 10:36 a.m., he said, after a â9-1-1â caller maintained he was watching a âhysterical womanâ standing in the roadway.
âThe caller said she was screaming, 'They're dead! They're dead!'â Swenson said. âOfficers arrived at her home and investigated, but didn't find a problem. Upon further investigation, they were pointed in the direction of the Hazard Avenue residence,â located just two streets over.
That's when police discovered the bodies.
Swenson explained authorities would not reveal the identities of the deceased until all family members had been notified. He did say detectives will continue to investigate, and that Lt. Barry Raner is directing the probe into exactly what happened and why.
Neighbors mentioned a couple had lived in the cottage; the front stoop was decorated with two pumpkins on the short stairway and small purple flowers adorned both sides. Two cars â including a Toyota Corolla and minivan â were parked in the driveway.
Rumors swirled as to what had occurred inside, from the deaths being caused by stab wounds to the woman stating she had requested a divorce though her husband wouldn't grant one. Still, Swenson said no facts would be revealed until authorities concluded their investigation.
Several neighbors congregated at a house perhaps 30 yards away; some cried, all hugged.
âI just knew they had two little boys who would play out in front of the home,â offered Mark Cabral, 19, who lives at the intersection of Hazard Avenue and Dodge Street. âI'd see them ride their bikes, or just fooling around, during the summer.
âI saw four or five police cars flying up the street, and people standing around, so I was curious what was going on,â he continued. âThis neighborhood is really quiet. I've been living here for five years, and nothing like this has ever happened, except for, like, a minor car accident or a hit-and-run.
âI canât believe this; Iâm a little nervous. Itâs just crazy. Itâs all really mind-boggling for me right now.â
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous mentioned she lives on Dodge Street, and that her backyard abuts the coupleâs side yard.
âI knew them; weâd talk in the yard and say, âHello,ââ she said. âI never saw them fight. I never heard anything. They were a nice couple, that's all I can say. I can't believe it.â
Noted Morse: âThey did a lot of work to make that yard livable. When they moved in two or three years ago, they cut down some trees.â
Throughout the early afternoon hours, police and officials with the State Medical Examiner's Office were seen walking to and from their vehicles. At approximately 2:10 p.m., they rolled out one covered body, and the second a few minutes later.
âThey were about my age â in their 40s,â Morse said. âI didn't hear those people at all. You'd just drive by on occasion and see them outside. This stuns me.â
Linda Albino mentioned she lives four houses down Hazard Avenue from the crime scene.
âI want to get out of here,â she said, referencing a move. âThis is bizarre, especially with Halloween just around the corner.â