Shooting suspects sought; attack believed to be gang-related

Monday, November 9, 2009
By Joe Domelowicz

Winthrop Police this week are searching for two suspects in a shooting attack on Crest Avenue last Thursday night.

The alleged assailants escaped by car minutes after opening fire on an unarmed former resident of East Boston, who told police that he was once a gang member as well.

The incident took place at approximately 10:10 p.m. last Thursday, October 29, when the 23-year old victim and intended target, now a resident of Crest Avenue, was walking home to his second story apartment.

“Officers responded to the scene of the attack within a minute and thirty seconds of the shots being fired,” explained Chief Terrence Delehanty, who lives just a short distance from the scene and heard the shots himself at 10:10 p.m.

“The first units on the scene attempted to locate the vehicle the suspects reportedly had fled in, and stopped several cars fitting the general description in the Shore Drive area, but we could not located the suspects,” said Delehanty. “Officers then returned to the scene and interviewed the intended victim, who admitted to officers that he himself had been a gang member while living in East Boston.

According to the police report, the victim told police that as he was walking to his apartment, he saw two men walk around the corner of a building across the street. One suspect was wearing a dark colored sweatshirt with a hood and dark pants and the other reportedly yelled to the first one, “shoot him, shoot him,” at which time the victim began running for his apartment building, as the first suspect opened fire.

Other witnesses interviewed by police confirmed the victim’s account that approximately five or six shots were fired in his direction and all shots appear to have been fired by the one gunman. The suspects then jumped into a dark green Honda Civic and fled the scene in the direction of Shore Drive. Officers investigating the scene, did locate several bullet fragments, including one fragment that became lodged in the electrical box of a building on Crest Avenue.

“We are working this investigation with the help of the Lynn Police and State Police Gang Units and we have developed evidence that indicates the shooter may have been a member of the MS-13 in Lynn,” reported Delehanty. “At this point, we are focusing our investigation on the shooter, because we have more information from witnesses about him and we hope to apprehend the suspect and follow that suspect to the other assailant.”

Delehanty also said that while the alleged or intended victim in this attack has told police that he has left the gang life, some evidence developed in concert with other area police agencies indicates that he may still be an active gang member in East Boston, and the motive for the shooting may be related to his affiliations there. Delehanty also said the victim’s brother had been targeted by other gang members in an attack in East Boston within the last six months.

“This definitely appears to be a gang related attack, by rival gang members from a different city,” said Delehanty. “We are extremely fortunate that no innocent bystanders, business owners or customers were injured in this senseless attack.”

Delehanty said that increased surveillance and questioning of known local gang members will become a primary way of ferreting out gang activity, including drug dealing, and said that his department is already working closely with gang units in neighboring communities to identify gang members that may be active in Winthrop.

“We will be cracking down on known and suspected gang members in town, stopping their cars, stopping them on the streets, searching them and making them uncomfortable,” said Chief Delehanty. “The safety of our citizens is the first priority for the Winthrop Police, it is a mission we take very seriously, so if this kind of attack means that gang activity is intensifying here, we will do what it takes to make sure the gang members know they are not wanted in our community.”

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