‘No one wants to live in fear’: Tips lead police to suspect who assaulted, robbed double amputee

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — It was a nightmare for one resident at Westcott Terrace, a living facility in West Warwick, Friday night.

Police said a 65-year-old man and double amputee, was home alone when he heard a knock on his door at about 5:30 p.m. officers noted that the victim was unable to see who was on the other side of the door, due to him being confined to a wheelchair.

With an automatic clicker, the victim opened the door, and told police he recognized the man on the other side as someone who he had leant money to a few days prior.

Maj. Donald Archibald, who’s with the West Warwick Police Department, said the suspect immediately went inside of the apartment, pushed the elderly man out of his wheelchair, and threw him to the floor.

The suspect took out a large hunting knife and repeatedly threatened the victim, before he went to the victim’s safe, and took a “small amount of cash.”

Police noted the suspect also took the victim’s cell phone.

The 65-year-old double amputee fought back from the floor, trying to grab ahold of the suspect.

“The male that had been assaulted wouldn’t let go of his attacker,” said Archibald.

The suspect eventually got away.

“Two days later, we received an anonymous tip from someone who was aware of the situation, and told us that the person you’re looking for had just pulled into the parking lot,” explained the major.

Sunday, officers arrested 54-year-old Nelson Justiniano De Jesus, who they said lived in the same building. He has been charged with 1st degree robbery, assault of a person mentally or physically impaired, and held without bail at the ACI.

“We’re understaffed, we’re tasked to do more with less, but in this case our patrol division, our detectives, collaborated like they always do. It was basically just good old police work,” said the major.

Archibald credited the anonymous caller who alerted police of the suspects whereabouts, saying they played an integral role of getting a dangerous person off the streets.

But for two days, he said he’s sure many of the residents were living in fear, knowing a violent suspect was on the loose.

“We all have grandparents, we all have parents that are aging…and no one wants to live in fear, especially in their own home,” said Archibald. “And it was a tough couple days for them to live knowing this person was still out and about, but I think they all breathed a sigh of relief once he was in custody.”

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island