Police looking at motive in Catalano murder

Police looking at motive in Catalano murder

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Police Chief Paul Martellini says local investigators are keeping the door open on all possibilities as they look into the shooting death of Richard Catalano on Aug. 17.

The suspect in the case, Providence resident Dari Maxi Garcia, is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and burglary, among others. Police say he shot himself after they forced their way into the home where Catalano lived at 9 Eliot Ave.

Martellini said that police are "looking at several options" on a motive for the killing. Among the possibilities police are looking at are claims by family members that Catalano had posted a picture of a pile of money on his Facebook page and that Garcia may have killed him over a pair of sneakers.

According to Martellini, it would be "a disservice to the investigation" if police revealed a suspected motive before they are sure. Police are also investigating whether others may have been involved in the killing, said Martellini.

Catalano's mother, who has not been named, was also shot. Garcia allegedly bit off one of her fingers during a struggle over his gun after Richard Catalano was shot.

Responding officers risked their lives when they rushed into the home on Eliot Avenue and pushed in a bedroom door to get to Catalano and Garcia, said Martellini.

Garcia, 24, of 32 Adelaide Ave. in Providence, has a lengthy criminal background. A state law enforcement spokesperson confirmed last week that he was involved in a prior domestic violence incident in February during which a Providence police officer shot him in the abdomen. Garcia was accused of assaulting his mother and smashing the window of a van that had a baby inside it. According to online records, a grand jury determined in March that the officer's action was lawful and legally justified. Garcia was not armed but would not remove his hand from inside his waistband after an officer ordered him to remove it, according to investigators.

Over the years, Garcia, has been charged with numerous offenses, including drug possession and possession with intent to deliver, obstructing a police officer, burglary, possession of burglary tools, passing counterfeit bills, making false bomb threats, assault, domestic assault, tampering with a motor vehicle, vandalism, reckless driving, and frequent incidents of driving with a suspended license. He was released from prison in March.

The killing of Catalano was North Providence's first homicide of 2014.