Florida man armed with guns, thousands of ammunition rounds arrested after wild, high-speed chase: police

Joshua Pavao (Credit: East Providence Police)

A Florida man armed with guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition has been arrested following a wild, high-speed police chase that led to multiple crashes in Rhode Island last week, according to police.

Joshua Pavao, 43, who has a last known address in Kissimmee, is facing multiple charges including 106 counts for possessing a large-capacity feeding device – a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition – eluding law enforcement and discharging firearm from a motor vehicle. 

The incident began at around 2:20 p.m. on Dec. 1 after the East Providence Police Department received a call reporting shots fired at a home in what appeared to be a "targeted attack", officials said in a news release. The bullet struck a car window at the home. 


Police dispatch released a description of the suspect's vehicle, a black Nissan Armada with an unknown Florida registration plate, and a search began.

Minutes later, the vehicle was spotted by a detective, who attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver, later identified as Pavao, refused and kept driving, prompting a high-speed chase.


(Credit: East Providence Police)

During the chase, Pavao's vehicle reportedly struck multiple other cars, which resulted in minor injuries. Following the collision, numerous loaded long-gun magazines were thrown from the suspect's vehicle and found scattered at the crash site.

Hundreds of rounds of long gun ammunition were also strewn throughout the area, police said.

Pavao abandoned his vehicle after it became inoperable following the multiple crashes and ran from officers but was ultimately caught near a restaurant and taken into custody.

Inside his vehicle, officers found thousands of rounds of ammunition in three duffle bags and many loose rounds throughout the interior of the vehicle.

No firearms were found inside the vehicle, at the large crash scene or on the suspect. However, a short time later, a resident contacted police after finding a backpack nearby, where officers found three loaded handguns and pellet-style rife. A bullet-proof vest was also found in the backpack.

"This investigation remains very active as we try to understand the motive and intentions of the suspect," Police Chief Christopher Francesconi said in a statement. "We have been working with other law enforcement agencies to further the investigation. "