Boston police look for witness in probe of fatal police shooting

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis today wants the help of a woman who was seen trying to trip a man fleeing from Boston police Tuesday evening. Detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of the man as he confronted officers with a handgun in the South End.

“We believe one witness encountered the suspect during the pursuit — and may have had a physical encounter,’’ Davis said. “We ask her to contact us.’’

At a press conference at department headquarters, Davis refused to release the name of the person shot to death on Yarmouth Place. But a law enforcement official briefed on the case today identified him as Burrell Ramsey-White, 26, a Boston man with ties to both the South End and Dorchester.

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Ramsey-White was shot after he fled a traffic stop around 5:47 p.m. on Tuesday. After being chased and cornered on Yarmouth Place, Ramsey-White allegedly brandished a weapon and refused to drop it, police have said.

Ramsey-White was shot once in the chest and later pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center.

Davis said a firearm that police believe Ramsey-White was carrying has been recovered and is undergoing forensic testing.

Today, Davis said he still does not know what prompted his officers to pull over the Cadillac that Ramsey-White was driving because the officers have not yet been interviewed by detectives. He said those interviews are expected to take place on Thursday.

“We will not confirm the actual reason for the stop until we’ve interviewed the officers,’’ Davis said.

But Davis said the Cadillac has a checkered history. On Saturday, Boston police in Dorchester pulled the car over on Maxwell Street and arrested the man who was then driving the car — and it wasn’t Ramsey-White. The commissioner said investigators do not yet know the link between the victim, the Cadillac and the man arrested Saturday.

Davis also confirmed that Ramsey-White was in a Roslindale home on Canterbury street Aug. 12 when four people were shot, one of them fatally. Jemald Allen, 34, was killed and police have not made any arrests in his murder.

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Earlier today, friends and neighbors of Ramsey-White gathered at a nearby doorstep in the South End to mourn him and to question whether the shooting was justified.

“You have a man surrounded and you shoot him? There is nothing that could have provoked that,’’ said Will Phillips, 29, who said he grew up with Ramsey-White.

Police and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office are investigating the fatal shooting.