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Prayer service held for Roxbury shooting victim

Shirley Clarke, whose son Gabriel was shot Friday on a Roxbury street, was comforted at Wednesday night’s service.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Shirley Clarke, whose son Gabriel was shot Friday on a Roxbury street, was comforted at Wednesday night’s service.

Five days after a 13-year-old was shot as he walked to choir practice in Roxbury, a prayer service was held Wednesday night at the boy’s church in Roxbury.

Although he is still in a lot of pain, Gabriel Clarke “should be home [from Boston Medical Center] in the near future,” the Rev. Nigel G. David Sr., Gabriel’s pastor at Berea Seventh-day Adventist Church on Seaver Street, said after the service.

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“We had a completely packed church. People from various walks of life came together to worship and sing and pray for peace on our streets,” David said.

Among those attending were Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis; Councilors John Connolly, Tito Jackson, and Ayanna Pressley; and Marie St. Fleur, a member of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Cabinet.

Davis, Jackson, and St. Fleur addressed the congregation. David said Davis reaffirmed the Police Department’s commitment to finding the shooter, while Jackson stressed the importance of community solidarity to diminish violent crime. St. Fleur urged those in attendance to embrace their responsibility to make the community safer.

Davis told reporters that investigators believe Gabriel’s shooting is gang-related and that they have made progress in solving the case. He stressed that Gabriel was an innocent victim.

Shirley Clarke, the boy’s mother and a soprano in one of the church’s choirs, was in attendance, David said. A collection was held to benefit the family.

He said there are steps the city and the neighborhood should take to cut violence in the neighborhood.

“In addition to the measures the police are taking, I would like to see more of a police presence in the Humboldt [Street] area” where Gabriel was shot, David said.

Shortly after the service began, Governor Deval Patrick referenced Gabriel’s shooting while signaling gun safety will be one of his priorities in the coming months.

“Only this morning we refiled several gun safety measures to help stop tragedies like Newtown or the recent shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Roxbury on his way to choir practice,” Patrick said in his State of the State speech, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks.

Chris Stuck-Girard can be reached at chrisstuckgirard@gmail.com.
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