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Community comes together over Dorchester teen’s death

"He was a really good kid."

A boy lights a candle at a memorial on Ellington Street Thursday where Curtis Ashford Jr. was killed Wednesday evening. Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe
curtis ashford jr.

Dorchester residents rallied together after a teenager was shot and killed in a park Wednesday evening.

The boy, who was revealed to be Curtis Ashford Jr., had just graduated from McCormack Middle School and turned 15. Around 7:30 p.m., he was playing basketball near the Erie Ellington playground, where he was shot dead. He had promised his mother he’d be home when the lights came on at 8. 

On Thursday evening, neighbors, friends, and family came together near the playground to light candles and release balloons. 

They mourned the loss of the young boy who loved anime and video games and was looking forward to starting high school in the fall

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“I wish he could have had that experience,” Alexa Powell, whose daughter was Ashford’s good friend, said to The Boston Globe. “He was a really good kid.” 

A neighbor named Dale Deeble saw Ashford on his way to the park that evening, as he did often.

“When I saw him walking up the street — that energy. That smile. He’s going to relax and have a good time,” he said to WCVB. “But then when you hear that happening, why do that to a kid? It’s a kid.”

Police have yet to identify any suspects or make an arrest in connection to the killing. 

The incident has caused an outpouring of support for gun reform from Boston politicians. Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday evening that incidents of gun violence are “absolutely unacceptable.” 

“When we see the loss of life, and particularly a young child, we are all robbed of the potential, the life, that was ahead of this young person,” she said. “I am deeply devastated and here with community members to say we need to get guns off of our streets.”

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Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said that we need to “get these guns off our streets,” urging listeners to go to police with information to bring justice for Ashford.

“We need a community response here. If you know of any information or have any information with regards to this case, we beg and plead and yearn that you contact the police,” he said. 

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