Dolin Shaw had been in and out of trouble during his 49 years, so fleecing someone out of $6 would not have been the worst thing he ever did.
It was, however, apparently enough to get him killed.
Police and witnesses allege that Shaw, who lived in Dorchester, had sold some drugs to a tall young man known on the streets as Will. Witnesses said Will was angry when he learned Shaw had apparently kept an extra $6 in the deal.
On Wednesday afternoon, as Shaw sat in a gray Ford sedan parked on Homestead Street in the Grove Hall section, Will allegedly leaned in the car window and stabbed Shaw in the chest. His aim was deadly. The knife pierced Shaw's heart.
Witnesses said they saw Will drop the knife and run. They said he apparently thought better of it, ran back, picked up the knife, then resumed his flight.
When a pair of police officers responded, they found Shaw leaning out of the passenger side door, his sunglasses and cap in the gutter beside his head and drenched in blood.
One of the first arriving officers was a rookie, who graduated from the police academy last month. He seemed shaken, something a veteran officer noticed before he walked over and told the rookie, "Welcome to the Boston Police Department, kid."
The veteran officer later explained he did not mean to embarrass the rookie, but only to break the tension. "That's what an old street cop said to me when I found my first body, a guy that had hanged himself and had been dead seven days," the veteran said.
As dozens of children interrupted their playing to watch, emergency medical technicians and paramedics cut away Shaw's polka-dotted shirt and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. But the gaping hole in Shaw's chest, the sight of which drew gasps from bystanders, made survival impossible. Shaw's sister, who arrived minutes later, got into the front seat of the ambulance while rescuers worked futilely in the back. She wept.
A search of the immediate area failed to turn up Will. Boston police, however, are familiar with Will, whom they describe as a drug user. Homicide detectives may seek a warrant for his arrest today.