And “hanging out,” sitting on stoops, talking on corners—particularly at night—is becoming known not as a neighborly act but a foolhardy one.
In October, Area B police investigated six murders, four of which were committed by attackers using guns. Another three murders involving guns occurred on streets just over the Area B boundaries.
Last year, Area B recorded had three murders in October, only one from gunfire. So far, 49 of the 83 persons slain in the city this year were killed in Area B, compared with 42 up to this point last year, and 32 for all of 1987.
The homicide toll includes a 15-year-old black boy from a solid family who carried a gun as protection and a pregnant white woman from Reading who was leaving one of the city’s prestigious hospitals after a birthing class.
Billy Molyneaux, the 15-year-old, lived on Wabon Street, in a middle-class Roxbury neighborhood of neatly kept homes and yards. His family’s neighbors include the cousin of a city councilor and a deputy superintendent of police.
His brother, Dwayne, was a star high school basketball player with a
But Molyneaux apparently was just deep enough into street rivalries to be a target when he rode his bicycle on Hansborough Street at 10 p.m. on Oct. 6. He was shot in the head by an unknown assailant and died. Family members were shocked to learn that he was carrying a .25-caliber pistol.
Carol Stuart, a lawyer from Reading, and her husband, Charles, had just left Brigham and Women’s Hospital when a bandit commandeered their car at Huntington Avenue and Francis Street.
After taking their jewelry and car keys, the gunman panicked—perhaps thinking the Stuarts were undercover police officers when Charles Stuart told him he had no wallet—and opened fire. Carol Stuart was killed; Charles was seriously wounded. Their first child, Christopher, was delivered just before she was pronounced dead.
While extraordinarily dramatic, the Stuart murder was probably the least representative of Area B’s violent October. And inner city residents have come to resent the amount of attention given the Stuart tragedy by the police and the media.
Billy Molyneaux’s cousin shook with anger on the porch of the family home last week as he spoke of the police effort directed at finding Carol Stuart’s murderer.
“Black kids are getting killed one by one; my cousin got shot in the head,” said the man, who gave his name only as James. “And now there’s a massive police buildup.”
But what is startling to police is not the slight increase in homicides
from gunfire but the dramatic rise in the use of firearms in assaults.
On Oct. 30, a week after the attack on the Stuarts, another pair of innocents were shot. LaRusha Harris, 15, and Michael Bunch, 22, were seriously wounded when a gunman wearing a Halloween mask burst into a Fenno Street home and opened fire.
Police believe the gunman, who has not been apprehended, was looking for someone else involved in drugs. Harris, who was visiting there because she had stayed home from school, and Bunch, who was the father of a child who lived there, were in the home by chance.
According to police, most of those who are shot are not innocent. Most are, in the jargon, “known to the police.” Some of October’s victims have been shot before; some of their relatives and friends have been hit by gunfire.
On Oct. 16, 20-year-old Antwonn Winbush of North Charlame Terrace was visiting the Norwell Street home of an aunt of his girlfriend of two weeks when a bullet ripped into his back on Oct. 16. He hasn’t seen his girlfriend since.
“This is what was told to me,” said Winbush, a senior at Madison Park High School. “I guess there was some gangs going at it and I got caught in the middle.”
Winbush had felt the sting of a bullet before. Back in the summer of 1985, gunmen drove up to his home in a housing project off Humboldt Avenue and opened fire, hitting him in the wrist.
“They were shooting at everybody,” said Winbush, who has spent time at the Deer Island jail for, among other things, weapons charges.
All three of Willie Jefferson’s sons have been gunned down on the dreary streets not far from her Creston Street apartment, near Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester. Two have been shot in gang warfare since late August.
“By the grace of God they are all living,” said Jefferson. “God loves me.”
Avery Williams, 22, her oldest son, carries a bullet in his head. He was shot 14 months ago on Blue Hill Avenue by a Chinese restaurant owner who thought Avery had just robbed his place. Avery was acquitted of the charge in September. Charges against the owner were dropped.Continued...