UPDATE: Police issue arrest warrant for suspect in fatal hookah lounge stabbing
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) - Providence Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man they say is responsible for the fatal stabbing at a Federal Hill hookah lounge Wednesday night.
Detectives believe Joel Francisco, 41, of Pawtucket, is responsible for fatally stabbing 46-year-old Troy Pine at Nara Hookah Lounge just before midnight Wednesday.
Police said Thursday that the suspect fled out of the back door of the lounge after the stabbing.
"There was some connection or contact made while they were both inside which led to this confrontation," Providence Police Major David Lapatin said in a press conference Thursday.
Pine, a frequent patron of Nara, stumbled out of the front door after the stabbing and was found on the sidewalk by officers. He later died at Rhode Island Hospital.
"The victim enters, sits down, has a drink, something to eat. I guess the alleged perpetrator comes in after that, they interact, sit separate, and then as the victim's leaving he goes up to the bar. Then there's some sort of brief altercation and then I guess a stabbing," said Nara's attorney, Nick Hemond, on what was shown on the lounge's security footage.
The Providence Board of Licenses ordered the lounge to close temporarily until a hearing on Monday. Hemond said the owner would have remained closed anyway out of respect for the victim.
"From what the video seems to show there's no real explanation, not this big grand scene, just a horrible tragedy and the owners are devastated by what's happened," said Hemond after the Board's meeting.
He said the lounge hires security guards, but the person who was supposed to work Wednesday night wasn't there.
"What I've been told is that person did not show up for work."
This is the second homicide in Providence in less than a week. A 19-year-old Revere woman was shot outside of a club over the weekend.
The stabbing is the 12th homicide in Providence this year.
"We've noticed an increase in stabbings. When you kill somebody with a gun, you're looking at double life. If you stab somebody, you're not right now. Is the word getting around? I don't know. Is it a coincidence? I don't know. But it's definitely caught our attention," Lapatin said.
Anyone with information into the possible whereabouts of Francisco is asked to contact PPD Detective Fabio Zuena at (401) 243- 6332 or email@example.com.