One day after a 9-year-old boy was shot to death by his brother in an apparent tragic accident in Mattapan, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the city will partner with the police department on a gun buyback program, in an effort to reduce the high number of guns circulating in the city.
“The message for me is clear,” said Walsh. “We need help from the community to find out where these guns are. Let us know, alert police, so we can work to get these guns off the streets.”
On Friday morning, a 14-year-old boy was playing with a loaded gun inside his family’s three-decker on Morton Street when the gun went off, according to police, and the bullet struck the boy’s 9-year-old brother in the chest, killing him.
The 14-year-old, who has not been identified because of his age, was charged with unlawful gun possession and involuntary manslaughter, and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in a closed hearing in juvenile court. Authorities said he was handling the gun recklessly when it fired. The boy’s 9-year-old brother also has not been identified.
There was no evidence that anyone else in the home knew the boy had the gun, authorities said Friday. Today, Walsh and a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office both said that the question of where the boy got the gun was still under investigation.
“All I can say is it’s a tragedy,” said Walsh, who spoke during a community event at an ice rink in Dorchester where reporters asked him about the shooting.
The city has been mulling a gun buyback for several weeks, after a violent beginning to the year that saw nine homicides in the month of January alone, many of those gang-related, according to police. Clergy met with Police Commissioner William Evans and Superintendent in Chief William Gross at the end of January to discuss ways to end the violence, and emerged from the closed-door session with the announcement that a gun buyback was a possibility.
Walsh today said the buyback will now go forward.
“We’ll be putting some form of a gun buyback together,” he said, though he said details and timing have not yet been figured out. “It was such a shock yesterday to a lot of people, including myself. You don’t want to get a call that a 9-year-old boy got shot. We’re still working through it.”
No one answered the door this morning at the victim’s home on Morton Street. Evan Allen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.