Teenager killed outside Dorchester high school identified

Three candles, their flames blown out by the evening wind, were left at the site where a 17-year-old high school student was shot to death outside. A note left read, in part, "I (heart) you, Ray Ray." –Lane Turner / Boston Globe

City officials Thursday stressed the need for witnesses of a fatal midday shooting outside a Dorchester high school to come forward and help solve the case.

Somebody saw who shot and killed a teenager and injured three others just outside Jeremiah E. Burke High School on Washington Street Wednesday, Police Commissioner William Evans said.

“The key is to have students, parents step up here and tell us what happened,” Evans said Thursday morning, outside the school. “We know there are students who know exactly what happened and unfortunately they’re not coming forward.”

The Boston Globe identified the slain teenager as Raekwon Brown, a Burke junior.

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Brown was outside the school Wednesday after a fire alarm sent students onto the street. With the end of the school day rapidly approaching, he left, but not before seeing a friend and fellow junior, Victoria Johnson.

“He gave me a hug and said, ‘stay safe, Victoria,” she said Wednesday outside the school. She and Brown often said goodbye this way.

“Out on these streets, you have to stay safe,” she said. “Even outside of my school.”

The area around the Burke is dangerous, but the school staff has done an excellent job supporting students and keeping those inside safe, said Emmett Folgert, founder of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.

“They’re completely proactive,” Folgert said of the staff. “If you’re a lonely kid walking around the Burke, you have a staff member walking next to you … They seek these kids out.”

The Burke was previously one of the worst-performing schools in Massachusetts but has made huge improvements over the past few years. Last fall, it was recognized as the city’s most improved public school and won $100,000 for the honor.

Folgert said he understands the frustrations of the commissioner and other city officials. And he’s encouraged by the swarm of media and attention surrounding the shooting. It means people care.

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“This has to be an alarm every time for us,” Folgert said.