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Gang activity cited in girl’s shooting

10-year-old was hurt in Roxbury

Boston police officers played in the Meeting the Face Behind the Badge tournament. B5 Boston police officers played in the Meeting the Face Behind the Badge tournament. B5 (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
By Maria Cramer and Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / June 6, 2010

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Rival gang activity is believed to be responsible for the Friday night shooting of a 10-year-old girl who was wounded in the leg outside her Roxbury home, police said.

Police Superintendent in Chief Daniel Linskey said yesterday that police believe the shooter was targeting the girl’s two brothers, who are involved with gangs.

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis told reporters just before the funeral of 14-year-old Nicholas Fomby-Davis, who was shot last Sunday in Dorchester, that the girl’s brothers were not cooperating with investigators.

“It’s unconscionable that the brothers can’t see the danger and not cooperate,’’ Davis said.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino who was also at the funeral, said police are targeting and catching suspects but need help from the community to keep the peace. “It takes everyone to cooperate,’’ he said.

The girl, whose injury was not life-threatening, was apparently playing outside on Creston Street with her family nearby when one man opened fire, Linskey said.

“People are not happy with what happened,’’ he said. “Even the coldest heart has a visceral reaction to a 10-year-old not being able to play outside her house.’’

Community members are working with authorities to offer information on what has become a spate of violence against the city’s youth, Linskey said.

Three teens have been shot and killed since the beginning of May, including Fomby-Davis, who authorities said was pulled off a scooter, held down, and shot. After he was killed, police took the unusual step of distributing a flier with the photos of 10 youths believed to be involved in the gang responsible for his death. Joshua Fernandes, 16, and Crisostomo Lopes, 20, have been arrested and charged with murder in the case. That attack is not connected to the shooting of the 10-year-old, Linskey said.

Just one month ago, 14-year-old Jaewon Martin was fatally shot on the Roxbury-Jamaica Plain line. Immediately after that shooting, police pledged to take several measures, including the targeting of “impact players,’’ or known gang members.

The shooting of the 10-year-old on Friday was the second on Creston Street in just over a week; 18-year-old Terrence S. Kelley Jr., of Dorchester, was shot on the street May 28.

Expressing his dismay at the string of killings, Linskey said it is up to the community to help police make changes in the city’s troubled neighborhoods.

“It’s frustrating,’’ he said. “How do you get into the head of a 16-year-old who should be worrying about getting his driver’s license or being in a first relationship when he’s intent on assassinating a 14-year-old? How do you change that behavior? By the time the police are getting involved it’s too late.’’

Yesterday, a woman who lives across the street from the 10-year-old’s family said she could not believe that the girl’s brothers were involved with gangs. “Those are sweet, smart little boys,’’ said the woman, who would not give her name.

“She’s never going to be OK,’’ the woman said of the girl. “That little girl is traumatized.’’

The woman said she was in her home Friday night when the shots rang out. She said the gunfire was much louder than the afternoon Kelley was shot. “This time it was ‘duck down, duck down,’ ’’ she said.

Asked how often police drive by on routine patrols, the woman answered, “Not enough, especially after that boy got [killed].’’ Several people gathered on the woman’s front porch yesterday talked about ways to curb the violence.

The woman’s cousin, Lethe Deleon, even suggested compulsory military service for violent offenders.

“Send [them] to Iraq,’’ she said.

Other suggestions included more summer job programs for youth and a teen curfew. One woman said it should start at 9 p.m., others said even earlier.

Across the street, a makeshift memorial of candles, a stuffed animal, and empty liquor bottles was still standing for Kelley. There was no answer at the apartment of the 10-year-old’s family yesterday. A Boston police pamphlet was tucked under the front door of her building urging residents to call the department’s anonymous tip line.

Deleon said witnesses usually do not speak to police after a shooting because they fear retaliation.

She said residents in the city’s low-income neighborhoods are more vulnerable to shootings in the summertime, when they gather outside their homes to cool off. “How many AC’s do you see [here]?’’ Deleon said.

Wendy Maeda of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.

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