By Bill Forry
A trio of unsolved shootings along Dorchester
Avenue, including two which resulted in homicides
in the last week, have rattled nerves and outraged
residents and merchants unaccustomed to gunfire on
the relatively peaceful thoroughfare. While Boston
Police doubt that the three incidents are
connected, the brazen nature of the attacks and
uncertainty about their motivations, have prompted
strong feelings from community activists.
In the first incident, on Jan. 7, 18 year-old
Darrion Carrington was gunned down at close range
inside the lobby of Canton House, a fast-food
Chinese restaurant at 1728 Dorchester Ave. Two days
later, on Jan. 10, a gunman opened fire during the
evening rush-hour near Peabody Square, wounding an
unidentified 20 year-old Dorchester man. Police
believe the victim was the intended target of the
assault, which one police source says may have been
triggered by a dispute on an MBTA bus. Sources say
four shots were fired in the incident. The gunman
was seen running past Ashmont station in the
direction of Gallivan Boulevard.
Then, just after 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon,
20 year-old Tyrone Hicks was shot and killed in
Fields Corner in what police say was another
ambush-style attack. The shooting happened near the
corner of Arcadia and Adams street, just steps from
the avenue and within a block of a Boston Police
officer who is assigned to a walking beat in the
business district. The police officer came upon the
scene within moments - and saw a suspect fleeing on
The victim, Hicks, is "known to police,"
according to several sources, including one close
to the investigation who said Hicks is connected to
an ongoing gang feud.
Dorchester Avenue has seen its share of violence
before. Two people were shot dead in July 2006
during an early morning incident outside the Tara
Pub across from Ashmont Station. And, in November
2005, a young man was shot and killed at the corner
of Monsignor Lydon Way and Dorchester Ave. Last
November, a young man was shot in a non-fatal
afternoon shooting outside the Venice Pizza shop at
the corner of Savin Hill Avenue.
Yet, the close proximity of last week's
shootings - and the afternoon gunfire in busy
Peabody Square and Fields Corner - has sent a
One longtime activist, Barry Mullen - who
regularly tracks crime activity in and around the
St. Mark's Area - issued a warning to his e-mail
chain last Thursday. Mullen speculated that a
"revenge war" was fueling the most recent shootings
and advised people to "please if possible stay off
Dorchester Ave. until the community gets more
information. If you must travail in our community
please stay aware."
Roseanne Foley, an Ashmont Hill activist who
runs the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition,
rebutted Mullen's advice, saying that "the streets
will only get more dangerous if we who are
law-abiding abandon them."
City Councillor Maureen Feeney, in a letter sent
to the Reporter this week, urged residents to
"remain active" and not "let caution paralyze our
"Our worst response to violence is fear," Feeney
wrote. "We should not let a small group of street
terrorists weaken or break our spirits."
This week, Capt. John Greland, who commands the
police District C-11, said he could not say for
sure whether there was any connection between the
"The jury is still out on that," Greland said.
While he said he understands the anxiety that the
incidents have triggered, he does not feel that the
Dorchester Avenue corridor is unsafe for the
public. On Tuesday, Greland said he has assigned
extra walking patrols in Peabody Square - using
overtime funds - to beef up police presence.
Dan Larner, executive director of St. Mark's
Area Main Streets, says that residents and
merchants involved in that organization are
resolved to defy the frightening message sent by
"We're not going to let it derail this
neighborhood. There's a lot of good things
happening here, it's mainly good people. These
events won't define our neighborhood," said
In a development unrelated to the recent
shootings, the Main Streets organization recently
hired a new youth outreach worker who will work
four days a week in the district.
Emmett Folgert, who works daily with at-risk
teens through the Dorchester Youth Collaborative in
Fields Corner, says his agency has recently stepped
up programming and outreach as well, thanks to new
funding. Folgert said that the spate of shootings
on the avenue last week is surprising, but doubted
that they were related.
"A mile around here is like ten miles," said
Folgert. "We always say that Dorchester Ave. is a
pretty safe place, knock on wood. But, I'm already
hearing that folks are concerned about this kind of
activity on Dorchester Ave.," Folgert said.
Foley, a former Boston cop, said that there is
good reason for neighbors to feel frustrated,
especially since many details of the two homicides
are, by legal necessity, kept sealed as
investigators probe the killings.
"I don't hold it against anyone if they feel
they don't want to be out and about," said Foley.
"But for me, I always have in back of my mind that
I am making a statement about the safety of streets
when I'm walking around.
"If a woman can walk down the street and be
okay, it isn't that bad," said Foley.
Mullen said that residents need more assurances
from investigators who have a better handle on the
background of the cases.
"The police say they don't think they're
connected, but they don't know," Mullen said. "I'm
not saying to stay off of [Dot Ave.]
indefinitely. I agree that people should walk
wherever they want. But today it's a different
ballgame. When you have this many so close
together, I want to know what's going on."
16 year-old gunned down on
A 16 year-old boy was shot multiple times and
killed on a sidestreet near the busy intersection
of Columbia Road and Washington Street on Tuesday
night. Carlos Sierra was shot outside of 16
Strathcona Road at about 10:40 p.m., according to
Boston Police. He died at Boston Medical Center.
Boston Police spokesperson Elaine Driscoll says
that authorities are seeking the occupants of a
grey or drak-green Honda with tinted windows that
"is believed to have been in the area at the time
of the shooting."
Anyone with information is urged to contact the
Homicide Unit at 617-343-4470, call the anonymous
Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS (8477) or text the word
'TIP' to CRIME (27463).
warns: Don't let fear win drive reaction to
to Reporter Home Page