On June 20 at 6:03 p.m. officers from the Warwick Police Department responded to the area of 13 Titus Lane for reports of pit bulls, a male and another dog in the roadway.
Upon arrival on scene, Officer John Zaborski located an adult male later identified as Robert Joyal, 57, of Shirley Street in Warwick on the ground with three dogs, two of which were actively attacking a smaller dog. The aggressive dogs, described as pit bulls, continued their attack and Zaborski approached the scene with his Taser drawn. One of the aggressive dogs turned on Zaborski, who attempted to use his Taser as a less lethal option to stop that dog’s aggression.
According to a press release, the use of the Taser was unsuccessful, and then a second pit bull turned on Zaborski. Fearing for his safety and that of other people on scene, the officer discharged his service pistol two times striking the dog and ending its threat. The Zaborski then approached Joyal on the ground and the other two dogs. The aggressive dog he initially tried to stop with his Taser then attacked him.
The Zaborski tried unsuccessfully to use physical force to deter that attack. The dog continued to lunge and tried to bite Zaborski, who was forced to discharge his weapon two more times to stop the second dog’s threat.
Based on evidence gathered and multiple witness accounts, the initial investigation has revealed that the officer’s actions were lawful and necessary to protect the lives of citizens and himself from serious bodily injury. Both of the dogs were deceased at the scene, according to police.
Warwick Police continues investigating the incident and are asking any witnesses to the initial dog attack and/or subsequent use of force by the officer to contact the Professional Standards Division at 468-4200.
Zaborski was uninjured during the attacks. Joyal, the owner of the dog that was attacked was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment of dog bite injuries he sustained in the incident.
“Officer Zaborski should be commended for his actions during the incident on Titus Lane in preventing further injury to Mr. Joyal and other bystanders who were in the area at the time,” Major Rick Rathbun said in a statement.
Bernard Copponi, 39, of 66 Valente Drive in Cranston, was arrested on June 11 around 10:30 p.m. for suspicion of driving under the influence.
According to Officer Timothy Tavares’ report, on the above date he was dispatched to the area of Airport Road at West Shore Road for a report of an intoxicated operator that was being followed. Dispatch advised the officer that there were multiple people calling in regard to the vehicle, which was identified as a black Dodge Charger.
Upon catching up with the vehicle, which was traveling west on Airport Road in the right lane, Officer Tavares observed the vehicle swerving from its lane of travel with both driver’s side tires veering over the striping on the road. The officer also noticed that the front driver’s side tire was flat and that the car was traveling on its rim. A traffic stop was then initiated in the parking lot just prior to the KFC restaurant.
There, the officer made contact with Copponi and advised him of the reason for the stop. The officer asked him if he was aware of the flat tire, to which Copponi said yes and that was why he was pulled over. During the conversation, the officer observed several signs of intoxication. Copponi provided several stories as to where he was coming from and going to and later refused to answer or appeared unsure how to answer the officer’s questions.
Copponi was asked to step from the vehicle and partake in a series of standardized sobriety tests, which he agreed to. Based upon his performance and the observations of Officer Tavares, it was determined that Copponi was unfit to operate a motor vehicle safely. A search of his car produced two large knives in the driver’s side door, which were taken and logged into evidence.
While transporting Copponi to police headquarters, he made several threats to Officer Tavares and other police officers. According to the report, Copponi said he would find the officer and alluded to hurting him at a later date.
At the station, Copponi refused to take a chemical breathalyzer test. There he continued to make threats to officers and urinated on the bed and walls of the cellblock area even though there was a working toilet in the cell.
Copponi was charged with one count of driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test, and weapons other than firearms prohibited. He was later released to his mother.
On June 9 at approximately 10:52 a.m., Officer Rose Michael met with a complainant in the lobby of police headquarters for a malicious damage report.
According to the victim’s statement, on June 8 at approximately 2 p.m. the man parked his 2004 BMW X5 at Dickerson’s Marina. When he returned to the car the following day at approximately 10:30 a.m. he observed that his car had been keyed. The scratch mark went from the driver’s side door around to the rear of the vehicle and along the whole passenger’s side. The man also stated that there was damage to the driver’s side bumper.
The man stated that there were no witness to the incident, and at this time there are no suspects.
Officer David Boardman was dispatched to a Tidewater Drive residence on June 9 around 4:20 p.m. for a report of a larceny. At the scene he met with the homeowner, who advised that he had 12 solar lights taken from his front lawn and walkway. The man valued the lights at approximately $38. There are no suspects or witnesses.
On June 6 at approximately 6:49 p.m., Officer Gavin McVeigh was dispatched to the Warwick Avenue Stop & Shop for a report of a female suspect in custody for shoplifting.
Once at the store, the officer met with members of asset protection in their office. There he immediately recognized the female in custody from prior contacts as being Jolene Ventre, 33, of 170 Boylston Street Apt. 1, Warwick.
According to details provided by security, Ventre had been observed through the store’s closed circuit television selecting multiple items in a cart and concealing other items in a reusable bag. She then made her way to the self checkout stand where she paid for some of the items, valued at $47.46, while taking $153.96 worth of merchandise through the pharmacy exit without paying.
Security provided the officer with a DVD of the incident, along with a receipt for the items taken. Background checks on Ventre revealed she was not on probation and had no outstanding warrants. She was summoned for one count of shoplifting with a July 3 court date. She was later released at the scene.