Boston police today released dramatic new details in the attempted theft Friday of a postal van and the shooting of a letter carrier on a residential Dorchester street.
A masked man who appeared to be in his 20s hit the worker and shot him in his right hand or wrist during a botched attempt to steal the van, police said today on the department’s official website.
Officers responded at about 6:07 p.m. Friday to a report of a man shot outside 74 Bailey St. and found the letter carrier, who said a man about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 in a hooded black jacket and black face mask had jumped onto his truck and demanded “the draw,” police said.
The carrier responded, “What draw?” and the masked man hit him in the forehead with a gun, then forced him to remove his Postal Service uniform, police said.
The gunman then tried to drive the mail truck away with the letter carrier still in the rear, but the carrier opened the back door of the truck and ran down Bailey Street toward Dorchester Avenue, police said.
It did not appear that the gunman attempted to wear the postal worker’s uniform, according to Officer Neva Coakley, a Boston police spokeswoman. Coakley said it was unclear at exactly what point in the altercation the gunman shot the postal worker.
Police and US Postal Service continued their investigation this morning. Several cruisers and a patrol wagon lined Bailey Street, a one-way lane of mostly older homes, some in good repair or recently renovated, others worn with age.
Boston detectives and US postal inspectors went door to door in pairs, interviewing residents. One duo methodically examined slush piled along the edges of Bailey and Clermont streets, searching for evidence.
A woman who lives next door to 35 Bailey St., the address where police said Friday that the mail truck had been parked when the fracas began, said she had been home but had not seen or heard the crime.
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she had lived on Bailey Street for about 15 years, and it is a peaceful place where everyone gets along.
“This is a wonderful neighborhood,” she said. “The most noise we hear is the traffic going down the street.”
Other residents had less positive views. Bailey Street resident Marley Williams said he arrived home from work late Friday, after the scene had been cleared, and was alarmed by the crime.
“Wow, that’s crazy,” he said. “That’s messed up—on my street.”
Williams, 30, said he had never seen crime on the street, but a neighbor warned him not to walk down the sidewalk listening to loud music through his headphones, because thieves sometimes hide in the shadows on side streets and jump out to rob pedestrians.
The neighbor told Williams that a man with a knife had approached him on Bailey Street one night.
“He said be careful,” Williams said. “I work late nights. I don’t want to get knifed or knocked out.”
In the Fields Corner section of Dorchester, about a mile and a half from the shooting scene, postman Dzung Ngo said he believed Bailey Street was dangerous.
“The area it happened last night was unsafe area, I know that,” he said.
Despite the shooting, Ngo, 53, said he was not frightened.
“I’m not scared of anything,” he said. “Nowadays you can’t be safe anywhere. I am in God’s hands. He protects me.”