The murder of a 36- year-old man who was found shot to death on Nahant Avenue near Adams Corner early Monday morning has prompted renewed calls for police enforcement in that section of Dorchester, where gun violence is rare but not unprecedented. Boston Police are probing whether the murder is connected to an armed robbery that happened just a block away on Ashmont Street on Sunday night.
Ciaran O Conghaile (or Conneely), who is originally from the Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland, died hours after a neighbor found him at 1 a.m. sprawled along the curb outside 20 Nahant Ave., just steps from his apartment. Conneely suffered from a single gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and died later in the morning, according to the Boston Police Department.
A neighbor, who asked not to be identified by name, said he saw Conneely lying on the street next to a parked truck. He was cold to the touch and had no pulse, according to the neighbor, who called police to the scene.
“I think he may have been there for a while, maybe even a couple of hours,” said the Nahant Ave. resident, who knew the victim by a nickname, “Kiwi.” He said Conneely - who lived in a brick apartment building next door— was a regular presence in the neighborhood. He was quiet and unassuming and was not known to have a problem with any neighbors.
Police are also actively investigating another incident involving a woman who was robbed at gunpoint near the intersection of Train Street and Ashmont St. at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday night. The armed robbery took place just two blocks from the homicide scene on Nahant Ave. According to a police report obtained by The Reporter, the female victim was accosted by two black males dressed in dark clothing. One of the suspects showed her a black firearm before the victim surrendered her Iphone, bag and wallet to the muggers, who fled towards Adams Street, according to the report.
“Unfortunately, at this point, it remains unclear as to whether or not Mr. Conneely knew his assailant,” said Elaine Driscoll, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department. “We understand the community has a strong desire to have more clarity on the facts and circumstances here, however, at this point any information would be purely speculative.”
According to the news website breakingnews.ie, Conneely was an undocumented immigrant who had lived in Boston for the last 12 years. The website said he last visited Ireland for the funeral of a younger brother who drowned after a freak wave washed him off a pier in the Aran Islands.
"Kiwi was a gentleman," said Dan Furber, a friend of Conneely's who would often see him at the St. Mark's VFW Post. "Every time I saw him he'd ask about Laura (Furber's wife) and Lily (his daughter born just one month ago). He mostly kept to himself but we would occasionally throw darts or shoot a game of pool. He never had a bad word to say about anyone and I can't imagine anyone have anything bad to say about him. Kiwi will be missed. I hope they catch whoever is responsible."
A rattled group of Cedar Grove residents packed the basement of St. Brendan’s Church on Tuesday, seeking reassurance from police officials days after the murder. Area C-11 Community Service Officer Dennis Rorie called the Adams Corner area the “safest neighborhood in Dorchester.”
Capt. Richard Sexton, commander at C-11, told the crowd of 200 residents that he had received the “green light” to deploy more officers, but he added that, “I can’t pull 29 police officers out of the air and get them down here.”
Much of the police presence is focused on the Bowdoin-Geneva area, which has a higher crime rate, he said.
Sexton also encouraged undocumented immigrants to report crimes, saying police officers do not check whether victims are citizens.
State Sen. Jack Hart and City Councillor Maureen Feeney both said they would lobby Commissioner Ed Davis for more resources.
“This captain has been responsive to us,” Feeney said.
State Rep. Marty Walsh urged the crowd to attend more civic meetings, which are often sparsely attended.
“A police car is not going to catch all of what the neighbors in this room
are going to see,” Walsh said.”
“Once something happens, you see more people and more patrols,” said Sean Weir, head of the civic association. “So obviously the presence is back in the neighborhood.”
Weir called the murder “more of a shock” to people’s nerves. “For the most part, people do feel safe,” he said.
Noreen Quinn, who lives on Nahant Avenue, says that the incident — and the report of the other armed robbery just a block away, will prompt her to change some of her own family’s rules and behaviors.
“My teenage son won’t be allowed to walk home alone now from his friends’ house,” said Quinn. “We were fine with that before, but this will change that now.”
Quinn— like other residents on Nahant Ave. who were home on Sunday night— said she did not hear any commotion or noise consistent with a fight or shooting outside.
“Then again, it was 85 degrees on Saturday and ACs were on,” she said.
Corey Burns and Gintautas Dumcius contributed to this report.