Police: Dorchester teen in Roxbury bar before he opened fire
Boston Police officials told the Boston Licensing Board today that Charkeem Hyatt, 19, of Dorchester, was in Packy Connor's Pub on Blue Hill Avenue before a disagreement spilled outside and he opened fire, shooting another man and three women who got in his way.
The board today reinstated the bar's license following an emergency suspension - but ordered the bar to close at midnight, instead of 2 a.m. Two of the board's three members said they would consider sterner action if the hear testimony from witnesses that Hyatt was in the bard early Friday.
Police said officers working a detail at the bar and a witness were unavailable this morning because they were scheduled to testify before a grand jury that will investigate the incident. They added that one of the women remains near death at a local hospital.
Hyatt pleaded innocent at his arraignment Friday in Roxbury District Court. A judge set bail at $200,0000, but revoked his bail on an earlier, unrelated charge.
Police Deputy Superintendent Robert Merner said police are called repeatedly to the bar and that it is becoming a drain not just on the local station house but the entire city. He said 111 police officers from every district in the city were called into the investigation, which shut Blue Hill Avenue until after 4 p.m. on Friday and that the city has so far tallied up $17,000 in overtime costs. That doesn't include the inconvenience and cost to neighbors, some of whom found themselves blocked in by the investigation or had trouble getting to work because the avenue was shut.
Police Superintendent David Linskey said he ordered an end to detail assignments at the bar because, "much to my chagrin," he cannot guarantee the safety of his own officers, let alone nearby residents.
James Russell, lawyer for the bar, said it's unfair to blame the bar for its location in what he called a violent area rife with drug dealing, prostitution and shootings, and that most of the incidents occurred outside the bar. Close Packy Connor's, he said, and the troublemakers would only start showing up at the nearby Breezeway and then, after that was shut, would find some other location to raise hell at. He said Packy Connor's has been in the same location for 70 years and that, unlike other white-owned businesses, did not flee Roxbury in the 1960s or 1970s and that it is a part of many people's lives.
"It's not the establishment that's the problem here, it's the individuals," he said. Linskey, however, disagreed, giving the board a copy of a Harvard study he said showed that bar owners can have a dramatic effect on crime problems near their establishments.
A number of bar patrons attended the meeting to support owner James Cairns and his son Packy, who runs the bar. Several said they were in the bar Friday morning testified they neither heard nor saw anything untoward inside the bar.
Packy Cairns said he personally checked every single person who came in after midnight and that he does not recall seeing Hyatt. He acknowledged Hyatt could have entered the bar before then, but said the bar's nine bouncers are vigilant about checking for ID.
Two nearby residents testified they are tired of the constant crime and related problems they say is associated with the bar.