BILLERICA — Authorities say a 22-year-old man died after being shot during a home invasion early Saturday morning along a bustling thoroughfare, causing fear and concern among neighbors.
Police rushed to a green and white home at Boston Road and Sheridan Street at about 3:50 a.m. and found the man with at least one gunshot wound.
The victim, Quinton Koehler, was taken to Lahey Clinic in Burlington. He later was pronounced dead at the hospital, said Lahey spokesman Scott Hartman.
“We do not believe that it was a random act at this time,” said Stephanie Chelf Guyotte, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office.
The shooting remains under investigation by Billerica police and the district attorney’s office.
Neighbors said the victim lived with his grandmother and it wasn’t uncommon to see young people coming and going late into the night. But, they said, there was rarely anything loud and obnoxious about their presence. “Young people have parties,” said resident Kathy Jones.
Crime scene investigators wearing white protective booties collected evidence from the yard of the Boston Road home, which sits across from the Middlesex sheriff’s office training center. The center, which used to be a school, has basketball courts and a large outdoor playground and rock-climbing wall that are popular with neighborhood children.
“It’s scary,” said Valerie Bowlan, who said her nephews often use the play area.
Residents said detectives started knocking on their doors about 6 a.m., asking if they had heard anything during the night.
Many said they had not due to droning window fans and air conditioners.
“This is a noisy street,” resident Elaine Healy said, pointing to Boston Road.
And most Saturdays, a nearby shooting range provides the neighborhood with the constant pop of gunshots.
“We’re used to hearing that,” Jones said over gunshot blasts.
Jones said she didn’t realize anything was wrong Saturday until she was awakened by detectives rather than her 6-month-old granddaughter.
“It was the first time she slept through the night, and I was happy until they knocked on my door,” she said. “I woke up to crime tape.”
Healy said she has lived in the Pinehurst area of Billerica for 20 years, but she didn’t know the residents of the green and white house.
“I waved to the woman, but no conversation,” she said. “He had a lot of friends over.”
The house is registered to Nancy Koehler, according to the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds.
It was Billerica’s second violent home invasion in two years.
A 49-year-old man was shot twice in 2011 after three men wearing masks barged into his home demanding money.
According to prosecutors, that victim, Robert Carter, got into a fight with the suspects and was shot while defending his daughter. Four men were convicted and sentenced to state prison in that attack.
Akilah Johnson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922. Jeff Fish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.