20 Year Old Man Shot And Killed In Busy, Bright Jamaica Plain Park
A lot was going on in Boston yesterday. The weather was spectacular, the Red Sox finished a four game sweep of the Texas Rangers and once again Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot won the Marathon.
And again, gunfire erupted and a young person was mortally wounded.
On Monday, scores of neighbors, commuters, and school age kids on vacation, were walking and playing along the Southeast Corridor Park in Jamaica Plain, near the Stony Brook Orange Line station.
About 75 yards from the front entrance of the train station, bordered by Amory and Lamartine Streets, a basketball court was filled with young people hanging out. Just after 4:00pm, a 20 year old man was shot – in the head according to a report on boston.com - and the tranquility of this diverse and lively Boston neighborhood was shattered.
On WBZ-TV last night, reporter Beth Germano identified the 20 year old man as Luis Troncoso.
Following the shooting, Troncoso was taken to Brigham and Women’s hospital where he died. No other details about the victim or his assailant were available immediately. State and Boston police continued searching the park for evidence late into the evening.
This was the second shooting in the neighborhood in the past few days. Friday evening, two people were wounded in an apparent drive-by shooting on Centre Street near the Jackson Square T station.
In the interest of full disclosure, I live in this neighborhood (about three blocks from the basketball court) and have participated in citizen watch events with the Brookside Neighborhood Association. My kids, 15 and 11, and their friends, play nearby.
I feel safe comparatively, always trying to keep in mind that families in other parts of the city have had to keep their kids virtually locked up in their homes in order to protect them.
We get a lot of car break-ins and a recent spate of tire slashings, which along with other property damage had people worried, but homicides are rare enough to seem part of some other distant place. But it’s worth mentioning several recent murders of local youngsters which remain unsolved. In January, Carlos Sierra, an eighth grader at my daughter’s middle school on Centre Street, was killed near his home in Dorchester. In January 2007, a 13 year old sixth grader, Luis Gerena, was shot and killed near the Jackson Square T. I’m sure there have been other, less well publicized violent crimes in the area.
Yesterday, while waiting for State Police officials to issue a statement to reporters, (they never did and referred all questions to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office) I approached a young man who had walked close by the crime scene out of curiosity. He declined to give his name but agreed to answer a few questions. He predicted “a not so fun summer” as long as shootings continued in neighborhood parks.
Asked what he thought the city should be doing, the 15 year old said, “gun control needs to be more targeted” in order to stop guns originating outside of Massachusetts from getting into Boston. He said he plans on finding ways to travel outside the city this summer in order to play basketball without the fear of violence.
According to the website of the national organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (Boston Mayor Tom Menino serves as Co-Chair), there are 30,000 gun deaths every year; 12,000 of which are homicides. According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms statistics noted on the site, 60 percent of guns used in crimes can be traced to just one percent of gun dealers. If this is the case, it seems state and local authorities ought to be able to turn off the tap and do exactly the type of targeted gun control mentioned by the young teenager.
John Rosenthal, co-founder of the Newton, MA based organization Stop Handgun Violence, says federal gun laws must be made significantly more strict as a crucial step in stemming the more than 80 deaths by gun Americans suffer every day.
Speaking before the Boston City Council in July 2007, Rosenthal said “there is no common sense when it comes to gun laws in this nation.”
“Today, the equivalent of a Columbine and Virginia Tech massacre will take place. Eighty to ninety Americans will die from firearms today...there are only two products not regulated by the national Consumer Product Safety Commission: tobacco and firearms. Firearms lead to thirty to forty thousand gun deaths a year. If you multiply that by thirty years, that is more Americans killed by firearms in the United States than all American servicemen and servicewomen killed in all foreign wars combined.”
It’s not recognized officially by any elected group of politicians, local or national, but every time someone is shot to death on our streets, or in our parks, the domestic war becomes a little more horrific.
On the web:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/home/home.shtml
Stop Handgun Violence
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley