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BU student is city’s 4th homicide this week

Found in section thought safe by police, residents

By Travis Andersen and Matt Rocheleau
Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent / April 20, 2012
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A violent week in the city of Boston continued Thursday morning when a Boston University graduate student was fatally shot in a part of the Allston section that is usually safe, police and neighbors said.

Police said officers found the 24-year-old man, whom authorities did not identify, lying outside on the 100 block of Allston Street at about 2:40 a.m., suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“It’s in an area that is relatively crime free,’’ Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said during an afternoon press conference at police headquarters in Roxbury.

Davis would not say if police believe that the student was targeted or if the attack was random, though he did say investigators are pursuing several leads.

The commissioner said police are stepping up patrols across the city in neighborhoods affected by a rash of violence this week that has left four people dead and several others injured.

Davis and Deputy Superintendent Kevin Buckley said that just over half the cases this week appear to be gang-related, but they did not provide specifics. Davis said authorities do not believe that any of the recent incidents are connected.

In a statement posted Thursday on the Boston University website, President Robert A. Brown offered condolences to the slain student’s family and friends and said the campus is deeply saddened.

The victim was a student in the Graduate School of Management, according to BU. The university said he was shot in the head and leg.

“This appears to be an isolated incident,’’ Brown said in the statement. “I want to assure all students, whether they live on campus or off campus, that public safety is a priority for this institution.’’

The university said the student was found about a mile from campus. Apartment buildings in the area are popular with college students and young professionals.

Krysta Voskowsky, 24, who lives nearby on Kelton Street, said two gunshots jolted her awake early Thursday.

“Hearing this kind of violence right around the corner is kind of unnerving,’’ said Voskowsky, a graduate student at Emerson College. “It’s nerve-racking.’’

Emily Roberts, 23, also lives near the crime scene and said she awoke to find her street blocked off as police investigated.

“It’s unfortunate because I have never felt unsafe here before this happened,’’ said Roberts, who teaches in Norwood.

The killing of the graduate student was the city’s fourth slaying this week. The first homicide occurred Monday, when Barbara Coyne, 67, was fatally stabbed inside her home at on East Seventh Street in South Boston.

Davis provided no new details about that case Thursday, but he echoed earlier police statements that investigators have found no obvious signs of breaking and entering at the home.

“We’re looking at a range of possibilities’’ for a motive, Davis said.

On Tuesday, a man in his 30s and a woman were shot inside a car in Roxbury, and the vehicle ended up at a gas station on Blue Hill Avenue. The woman survived her injuries, but the man was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center, police said.

A 20-year-old man was fatally shot the following night in Hyde Park in the 800 block of River Street at about 8:50 p.m., police said.

Police have not identified any of this week’s victims, except for Coyne. No arrests have been made.

In addition to the killings, several nonfatal shootings and stabbings have been reported, including an incident Tuesday afternoon in which a mother said that a stray bullet narrowly missed her 9-year-old son inside the boy’s bedroom on Wellington Street in Dorchester.

Another person was shot and seriously wounded in Dorchester Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of Ashmont and Florida streets, and three men were shot in a car the night before on Clarkwood Street in Mattapan, police said.

On Wednesday night, a 23-year-old man walked into a Target department store in the South Bay shopping center after being shot nearby in a vehicle. A witness said he calmly asked employees and customers for help, and the store closed several hours early.

On Thursday, Voskowsky, the Emerson student who was awakened by the predawn gunfire, said she was not expecting any problems when she moved to Allston.

“When I moved to Boston, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s not New York; it will be safe,’ ’’ she said. “I never thought I’d hear gunshots around here.’’

The BU graduate student’s slaying was the 13th homicide of the year, compared to eight at this time last year, police said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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