Man Who Shot Himself in SUV Near Seekonk Speedway Dies
A 38-year-old Rhode Island man who shot himself inside a vehicle near the Seekonk Speedway last Thursday died Saturday afternoon at Rhode Island Hospital.
The man has been identified as Derek Belanger of East Providence, according to the Office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn.
A preliminary investigation shows the following, according to the DA's office:
At 3:05 p.m. on April 9, Swansea Police received a 911 call from a man who said someone at a Cumberland Farms on Route 6 had shown a gun and advised those present to call 911. The witness observed Bellanger get into a 2005 Mercedes SUV and sit for several minutes before eventually leaving the parking lot.
Swansea Police sent a bulletin to surrounding police departments regarding the vehicle. A state trooper spotted the vehicle and attempted to pull it over as Bellanger continued to drive through Rehoboth and into Seekonk. The trooper was joined by officers from Seekonk and Swansea.
Bellanger eventually stopped his vehicle on Route 6 near the Seekonk Speedway and reportedly ignored the state trooper's verbal request to exit his vehicle.
Police reportedly watched as Bellanger reached his right hand from the driver's side window while brandishing a firearm. The officers moved to the rear of their cruisers to take protective measures when they heard a single gunshot from Bellanger's vehicle, the DA's office said.
When the officers approached Bellanger's vehicle, they found him unconscious in the driver's seat of the vehicle with a handgun in his right hand.
Bellanger was extricated from the vehicle, rendered first aid and rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where he died late Saturday afternoon.