Kids in the neighborhood had been setting off fireworks for days, so when that first bang sounded Tuesday night, Theresa Johnson assumed it was more kids and more fireworks.
But this time, she didn’t hear the distinctive fizzle of descending lights. She heard only a pop. Then two more — pop, pop — and screeching tires.
As she crouched slightly behind her dresser, she heard a shout. “Mom, I’ve been shot!”
Johnson ran to her bedroom window, and there, bleeding profusely on the sidewalk, was the oldest of her four children. It was the realization of one of her deepest fears, yet his yells were a miracle. He was alive.
For years, she lived in a cycle of fear and relief: fear that one of her children would be shot or killed, then relief when they were not. A summer of that fear and relief was chronicled last year as part of a Globe series documenting life in 68 blocks of Dorchester, an area with an intense sense of a community but beset by chronic ills, guns, and gangs. Johnson grew up in the neighborhood and still works there, but now lives just outside of those 68 blocks in Bowdoin-Geneva.
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