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Man in shooting was in ‘wrong place at wrong time,’ lawyer says

Defense Attorney J.P. Wing (left) argued on behalf of Christopher Murrain of Dorchester during Murrain's arraignment in Dorchester District Court.

Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe

Defense Attorney J.P. Wing (left) argued on behalf of Christopher Murrain of Dorchester during Murrain's arraignment in Dorchester District Court.

The two men implicated in the shooting of a Boston police officer Saturday belonged to a dangerous Mattapan gang known for wielding guns and dealing cocaine, according to court documents and law enforcement officials familiar with the group.

Darryl Dookhran, who was fatally shot by police during the standoff Dec. 7, and Christopher Murrain have been identified by officials as members of the Favre Street gang. Each man has a history of run-ins with law enforcement.

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In September, Boston homicide detectives questioned Murrain and two other members of the gang after police stopped them for driving a car that matched the description of a sport utility vehicle wanted in connection with a slaying, according to court documents. Murrain was not arrested on homicide charges.

On Monday, a Suffolk prosecutor argued that Murrain should be held on high bail for his alleged role in Saturday’s shooting of a police officer.

“He poses a serious danger to +the community,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Callahan said in Dorchester District Court, where Murrain, 26, was arraigned on charges of assault and battery on a police officer. Judge Robert Tochka ordered him held on $15,000 cash bail.

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Police have said that gang unit officers patrolling around Geneva Avenue and Westville Street at 1 p.m. Saturday stopped when they saw Dookhran and Murrain and got out of their car to talk to them.

Dookhran was sentenced in 2012 to a prison term of 2½ years for weapons offenses in Wellesley. He was released from prison June 11.

Officials said Dookhran began running away and Murrain allegedly stepped in front of one of the officers, shoving him, to give Dookhran a head start.

Dookhran then allegedly opened fire, wounding one of the officers in the arm. The officers fired back, fatally striking Dookhran.

In court Monday, Callahan said that after the shooting, Murrain ran into a computer store to hide. A surveillance camera at a nearby grocery store captured much of the confrontation, officials said.

Murrain, a diminutive man, shook his head as Callahan described the events of that day, which unfolded on the commercial strip of the Bowdoin Geneva neighborhood, a troubled section of Dorchester where gang feuds have long terrified residents.

His lawyer, J.P. Wing, said Murrain had been in the neighborhood dropping off a broken laptop at a computer store when he ran into Dookhran, whom he had not seen in three years.

Wing said Dookhran asked him for a cigarette and as the men were chatting, police approached them.

Murrain fled the gunfire, not police, Wing said.

“When bullets fly, we all run,” he said. Wing said any physical contact Murrain made with police was inadvertent and noted that his client was not carrying a weapon.

He described him as a father of three children — ages 6, 3, and 4 months — who had been working at a moving company 30 hours a week.

“My client was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Wing said.

Murrain has been arrested several times since 2005 on drug and gun possession charges.

In 2011, he was committed to one year in county jail for assaulting a woman, identified in a police report as the mother of one of his children.

On Sept. 6, he was stopped in Mattapan while driving a gray Ford Edge that resembled a vehicle wanted in connection with the Sept. 5 killing of 19-year-old Walter White, who was shot in the head on Norfolk Street in Mattapan. That killing has not been solved.

Murrain and the two other purported gang members with him in the car were questioned at police headquarters. The other two men were released, but Murrain was charged with driving with a suspended license and driving a car he was not authorized to operate; it was a rental vehicle obtained in someone else’s name.

In October, Murrain was charged with possession of heroin and crack cocaine after police allegedly saw him swap a bag of marijuana for a bottle of vodka near Boston Common.

When police stopped his car, they recovered 16 bags of heroin, 58 bags of crack cocaine, and a spent shell casing, according to a police report.

At his Oct. 10 arraignment in Boston Municipal Court, prosecutors asked for $50,000 bail, but Judge Raymond Dougan released Murrain on personal recognizance.

Prosecutors also asked Dougan to revoke bail set for Murrain in an unrelated case, which would have put Murrain in jail for about 60 days. Dougan declined to do so.

The confrontation with police Saturday took place 59 days after Murrain’s arraignment.

Dookhran’s record includes multiple gun charges.

In 2011, Dookhran had a violent struggle with police after he was caught carrying a semiautomatic handgun around the Wellesley campus of Massachusetts Bay Community College, where he was a student.

He would have reason to carry a weapon, his lawyer at the time said, because he was afraid Boston police had made him a target on the streets by questioning him about the unsolved murder of 18-year-old Jeremy Price of Mattapan, who was mentally disabled. Dookhran feared others would think he was cooperating with police, putting his life in danger, his lawyer Larry Tipton, said in a 2011 affidavit.

The officer who was shot is recuperating. Authorities have not released his name, citing concerns for his personal safety. The officer, who has a pregnant wife and a small child, is not known for aggressive tactics, said one law enforcement official who knows him.

“That whole stop-and-frisk mentality, he is the absolute opposite,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the department does not allow officers to speak without permission.

“He’s very personable,” the official said. “He knows these kids on a first-name basis, most of them.”

John Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.
Follow her on Twitter @globemcramer.
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