September 20, 2014
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Police played it cautiously with hockey games

Cranston and Warwick Police anticipated a reaction to a disparaging Twitter “tweet” that was posted by a Coventry High School student about two Pilgrim High School girls who died in a traffic accident in Exeter last August. Officials at Pilgrim called Warwick Police because they thought there might be trouble at two playoff hockey games between Coventry and Pilgrim that were scheduled over the weekend.

“We called Cranston Police when we heard about it,” said Major Ray Gallucci of the Warwick Police. “The first game was held at Cranston’s [Veterans Memorial] Rink [on Phenix Avenue] on Friday and Cranston put a couple of extra officers on detail for it. Nothing happened, but we also sent an extra detail officer at Thayer for the second game, which also went by without incident. The resource officers at the schools involved were following the situation and we thought we should be cautious.”

Gallucci declined to describe exactly what was said in the tweet, saying he didn’t think it would serve any practical purpose to repeat the comments.

Pilgrim High students were deeply affected by the death of the two athletes on Aug. 31. Elanna Zuller, 16, and Gabriella “Bella” DiPalma, 17, were killed when the car they were in struck a tree in Exeter.

Police said they were in Exeter to visit the grave of Mercy Brown, who according to legend was the state’s only reputed vampire, although that term was not current in 1892, the year she died.

The hockey games were part of a Division II semifinal series. Coventry, the top seed, swept the series over Pilgrim.

“I don’t think any charges will be filed,” said Gallucci. “I believe that the school [Coventry] is handling that part.”


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