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In wake of gun violence, Guardian Angels come to Malden

Posted by Metro Desk  October 10, 2010 10:55 PM

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After a spate of gun-involved incidents in Malden, the Guardian Angels have begun patrolling the residential area where the violence occurred.

Acting as the "eyes and ears of the police" and armed with only cell phones and two-way radios, the half dozen angels -- members of the Boston chapter of the New York-based citizen's patrol group -- first appeared on the streets of Malden Saturday night, said Vinny Cataldo of Boston, who led the patrol. 

"Between last night and tonight, a lot of residents appreciate us being here," said Tony Nardome, one of the four men in the signature red berets who were taking a break in a Dunkin' Donuts on Salem Street about 9:30 p.m. last night.

Cataldo said the Guardian Angels will continue to patrol in Malden on weekend nights until a local chapter here gathers enough interest to support itself.

Following three gunfire deaths over Labor Day weekend in Malden, last week police responded to three more firearms incidents. One incident on Tuesday night left a 25-year-old man wounded after he was shot twice in the foot as he fled from three muggers, two of whom were armed, police said.

The mayors of Malden, Everett and Chelsea began coordinating a response last week. So far residents have reported seeing a Middlesex Sheriff's Department mobile command center parked around town.

Malden Police Chief James L. Holland said Friday that he was working on a cooperative effort with police in nearby Chelsea and Everett and said a task force is in the works, but said he could not be more specific.

Meanwhile in Maplewood Square, Cataldo said he and his brothers in red will continue to patrol for the next several weeks until the local chapter can assume the responsibility.

Cataldo, whose regular beat covers the MBTA Orange Line and the Downtown Crossing area of Boston, said Malden residents began asking him if members of his group would begin patrolling the northern suburb in light of the recent violence.

"We're trying to make ourselves visible," Cataldo said. "When people see us, they know we're here to help as much as we can."

Globe Correspondent Matt Byrne can be reached at: Mbyrne.Globe@Gmail.com.

Originally published on the blog MetroDesk.

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