“We’re always concerned when we see this,” she said. “I think we’re trying to work as a team, and trying to figure out how to do that.”
Ortiz added, however, that members of the community need to do more to track down guns in their homes, and turn them over to police.
“You have to get the message out into the community that we share a sense of responsibility,” she said. “The solution is not just law enforcement. The community has to be involved, do what they can, and cooperate with police.”
“We need to get out there in the community centers, into schools, through faith-based organizations, and get the word out there in the community that these guns continue to be dangerous, look what can occur, and you need to work with us to track them down and turn them over,” she said.
Today’s fatal incident had eerie similarities to the 2007 death of Liquarry Jefferson Jr., a first-grader who was shot to death by his 7-year-old cousin while they were playing with a gun left inside their apartment by an older relative.
Jefferson was eight years old when he was shot on June 24, 2007. He and his cousin had found a loaded 9mm handgun in the dresser drawer of an older cousin, Jayquan McConnico.
McConnico and Jefferson’s mother, Lakeisha Gadson, were both prosecuted by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office on charges of allowing an illegal weapon to fall into the hands of children.
Gadson was acquitted by a Suffolk Superior Court jury of the major charges she faced, while McConnico was sentenced to Department of Youth Services custody, which he has since completed.
Milton J. Valencia, John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff, and Globe correspondent Catalina Gaitan contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.