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Always Armed/Always On Duty

Jack Ryan

On January 28th 2000, the Providence Police Department received a call that would irreversibly change the lives of three officers forever. Officer Carlos Saraiva, a three-year veteran, and Officer Michael Solitro, a rookie who had completed his field training just days earlier, were riding as partners due to a shortage of police vehicles. Officer Saraiva and Solitro monitored a call of two women fighting in the parking lot of Fida’s Restaurant. Fida’s Restaurant was one of only two restaurants in the City of Providence, a city of nearly 200,000 people that had an operating license which enabled it to remain open after the hundreds of other bars and clubs in the city closed. Due to the scarcity of open restaurants, Fida’s regularly drew a diverse bar and club crowd that made it a hot-spot for police activity and crime.

The fight at Fida’s had started inside the restaurant when two females began arguing. One of the females had insulted the other by asking her out on a date, mistakenly believing she was a lesbian. One of the females involved broke a glass and attempted to slash the other woman. A worker in the restaurant began screaming at the females to take it outside.

Once outside, the fight escalated further as the two females, who were accompanied by their respective companions, moved into the parking lot of the restaurant. One of the women, Crystal Calder, was joined by her boyfriend, Aldrin Diaz. Outside in the parking lot, Calder shouted to Diaz to get her gun from the car. Meanwhile, Officer Saraiva and Solitro pulled up to the restaurant. Instead of seeing two girls fighting as reported, they observed Diaz pointing a gun at other people in the parking lot.

The two officers, upon observing the man with the gun, immediately sought cover. Officer Saraiva, who had been driving was immediately exposed to Diaz, whose position in the parking lot was on Saraiva’s side. Officer Saraiva jumped from the police vehicle and positioned himself behind two telephone poles that had been strapped together. Officer Solitro, only eight days off field training, got out of the vehicle and moved behind the engine block and wheel of the police car on the passenger side. Both officers, now having cover between them and Diaz, began shouting commands for Diaz to “DROP THE GUN.” Diaz complied with the two officers, but dropped the gun into the passenger compartment of a car that he was standing next to. The officers began telling Diaz to get on the ground. When Diaz complied, Officer Solitro, who was positioned behind the police vehicle and off-center to Diaz position between two vehicles, lost sight of him. Officer Solitro then moved over behind the car in which Diaz had dropped the gun in order to maintain visual contact of Diaz.

As the officers continued to take control of Diaz, another man came out of the restaurant and began approaching Diaz, who was prone on the ground. The officers observed that this man had a gun in his hand and that the gun was pointed toward Diaz. The officers immediately began shouting for this man to drop the gun. The man continued toward Diaz. As he closed in, Officer Saraiva and Officer Solitro each fired two shots. Officer Saraiva’s two shots hit the man in the chest and would later be determined to have been fatal rounds. Officer Solitro’s first shot went into the car that he was positioned behind. His second shot struck the man in the forehead and was also a fatal shot. Aldrin Diaz, the initial gunmen told detectives later that he felt that the man was about to kill him and he could not believe the officers were allowing this man to close in on him. He recanted this statement after he was charged with felony murder.

As officers began arriving at the scene, one officer, looking at the man on the ground, thought he looked familiar and reported that fact to his supervisor. The supervisor agreed and told him to check the deceased man’s pocket for identification. When the officer did, he found Cornel Young Jr.’s police badge and identification in his back pocket. Officer Saraiva and Officer Solitro had mistakenly shot one of their fellow-officers, Cornel Young Jr., the son of the highest ranking African-American police officer in the City of Providence. Officer Young had merely been waiting for a steak sandwich at the takeout counter when this fight had started in the restaurant. Tragically, Officer Saraiva and Young were classmates in the police academy, had worked together for three years and were friends.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Jack Ryan reitred after signing a proffer with the FBI/USAO in Providence, RI. Google Jack Ryan and the Providence Police Department, Providence,RI He admitted giving officers source material for promotional exams.
    How dare he comment on incident in which an officer tragically died and two other officers were left to deal with this nightmare.
    It should be noted that Ryan was under investigation by the FBI soon after this tragic incident. Shameful

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    everyone should read this

  • Mdc_skin_max50


    about 4 years ago


    The bottom line is THE UNIFORM WINS!!! When an officer in uniform arrives do as you're instructed. Remember everyone's adrenalin pumping, which could lead to a pretty hyped up situation. When you seen a gun it’s the body’s natural reaction to pump you up its fight or flight time. Prior to the uniform making contact with you and/or once contact is made you can identify yourself as a police officer. “I’m on the job, I’m a Police officer, Police don’t shoot.” Don’t take offense if you’re still instructed to kiss dirt!!! Look at it like this, how does the uniform know you are in fact Police. Keep in mind bad guy’s do what they see TV police doing or have seen REAL police do. Some officers believe, I’m police everyone should know I am police. Brothers and Sisters let’s shut up and let the uniform handle the situation until the problem is resolved. You don't know everyone employed with our agency, furthermore they don't know you.

  • File0106_max50


    about 4 years ago


    very sad but a great article

  • 02-17-07_0940_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    I will most deff follow through to read up on all state laws on carrying my firearm. For any officer that is trying to help make an arrest is always suppose to identify themselves as an official regardless of noticed by other officers. Its for the suspect and witnesses that is on the scene. Great articial

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    about 4 years ago


    A well written article with good advice for all to heed.

  • Belgian-malinois-picture_max50


    about 4 years ago


    very unfortunate but a good article.

  • Me_last_wk_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Great article. Bump leatherneck

  • Blue_line_decal_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Leatherneck you said it perfectly - off duty/plain clothes officers have to understand that the uniformed officers are the only ones clearly identifiable as LEOs and when confronted with a subject with a gun that they cannot identify as a cop they have to act as if that person ISN'T a cop...
    Fortunately, in any instance at my job where plaintclothes are involved we can readily ID them by them having their badges displayed clearly on either chains or belts, and they tend to have a radio in their back pocket and have radioed in their location, etc.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    As for the "NYPD" rules. There is no such thing taught in the NYPD that treat every person who has a gun as if he or she is an Off-Duty Officer. In the NYPD, a Uniformed Officer is considered "ALWAYS RIGHT!" While an Off-Duty or Plain Clothes Officer is wrong. What I mean by that is, that even if I'm a Detective On-Duty with 10 1/2 years on the job, if I'm ordered to do something by a uniformed officer even in Academy Grey's that I must follow their instructions. If a shoot situation does arise, and say I get shot (being in plain clothes) the uniform Officers will be justified as they stated to me: "Police Don't Move." Which is taught to all member of the Department and is the standard challenge. Until the rookie uniform Officer is convinced that I am who I say I am, I am to follow EVERYTHING / ORDERS given by the rookie Officer, with NO questions! Uniform is always right, plain clothes is always wrong, that is how the NYPD views it. There have been many instances in the NYPD where On Duty Uniformed Officer's have shot On-Duty plain clothes Officers and Off-Duty Officers. No matter what, Uniform has the privilege over plainclothes. REGARDLESS OF RANK! At least until the identity of the challenged Officer has been established.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 7 years ago


    im so glad

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 7 years ago


    This is something more officers and departments should look at.

  • Pd_officers_martin_max50


    about 7 years ago


    This is very sad,My prayers go out to all law enforcement

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    You have to be prepared to be viewed as a suspect. You have to presume that responding officers will not know who you are. Communicate!!!!! Let them know!!! Do what they tell you - be offended later, if you're inclined to be offended by officers being concerned about a person with a gun (you know who you are). This is a tradgedy that can be prevented!

  • Cup_of_max50


    almost 8 years ago


    Tragic. Fortunately this is not always the case. I'm sure most of us remember the mall shootings in Utah in which an off duty officer was eating dinner and was the first to repond to the incident. Fortunately he made it clear to the responding uniformed officers who he was and was recognized by another officer which he had met previously in a training class. In the military side, just a few weeks ago a patrol of Afgani's was shot up by "friendly" forces during the fog of war.

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