Neighbors on a quiet Savin Hill sidestreet awoke to a crime scene last Thursday morning, after police discovered a young man stabbed to death in a third floor apartment at 56 Tuttle St.
Boston Police say the victim is Daniel Yakovleff, 20, of Roxbury. He was found dead at approximately 6 a.m.
According to sources familiar with the investigation, the third-floor tenant told police he had picked up two men at a bar and brought them back to his apartment. When he woke up the following morning, the tenant called police after finding one of them had been stabbed.
A police spokesman declined to comment on the case beyond the posting on the Boston Police Department's Web site identifying Yakovleff.
"Obviously, what happened overnight is abnormal for this neighborhood," said Officer Mike Keaney, a community service officer at District C-11, speaking to the Tuttle/Hartland Street Neighborhood Watch. The group met hours after the murder for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the Tuttle House, a senior housing building near the crime scene.
Word spread quickly through the Internet of Yakovleff's death, with the Hartford Courant, a newspaper in Yakovleff's native Connecticut, breaking the news over the weekend.
Ryan Duncan, a 23-year-old who occasionally hung out with Yakovleff before moving to Washington, D.C., said he was "just a great kid" with a "normal gay social life."
Duncan confirmed that Yakovleff worked at the Liquid Hair Salon on Tremont Street and they would sometimes run into each other.
"He saw it as a form of expression," Duncan said of Yakovleff's job. "He would always rock these outrageous haircuts."
Rose Tran, who lives on the second-floor of 56 Tuttle, told the Reporter last week that she did not hear any commotion upstairs on the night before the discovery. She awoke at 5:45 a.m. to the sounds of police cars arriving at her door.
Keaney said the victim was stabbed in the rear bedroom on the third floor.
Tran, whose son owns the property, said the current tenant, whom she knows only as "Steve," has lived upstairs for the last year-and-a-half. "He is very quiet, very good man," Tran said.
"I thought that he was the one they found. I almost cried. But they told me it wasn't him," Tran said.
Neighbors who attended the street watch meeting were defiant. "I'm not afraid," said Marlea Mesh, founder and head of the watch. "I'm not going anywhere."
Turning to a new couple, who had just moved in last fall, she said, "Don't be scared. This is a great neighborhood. Things go up and down."
According to an obituary on Boston.com, Yakovleff graduated from E.O. Smith High School in 2005 and went to Blaine Academy in Boston. He is survived by his parents Nord and Peg, his brother Damon, both his grandmothers and numerous grieving aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A memorial was held in Ashford, Conn., where he grew up, on Tuesday.
Reporter managing editor Bill Forry contributed to this report.