A man who opened fire on two plainclothes police officers on a Dorchester street early Saturday afternoon, injuring one, was shot and killed by the officers, police said.
Just after 1 p.m., two officers approached two men near the intersection of Geneva Avenue and Westville Street, interim Police Commissioner William Evans said. The men were “known to police,” he said.
An argument quickly escalated, and one of the men shoved an officer before running away, Evans said. When police ordered them to stop, one of the men allegedly pulled out a gun and started shooting at the officers. The officers chased one or both of them around a street corner, Evans said, and a bullet hit one of the officers in an arm.
Police returned fire, shooting and killing the man. The other suspect was arrested.
“Nobody likes to discharge their firearm, but when we have a situation with deadly force, and they’re trying to kill us, we have no other choice, unfortunately,” Evans said at a press conference near the scene.
Evans said the wounded officer was taken to a hospital, “but thank God, he’s going to be fine.”
The other officer was taken to the hospital to treat stress. The officers, who according to police spokeswoman Nicole Grant were plainclothes members of the Youth Violence Strike Force, were not immediately identified.
Dozens of police vehicles remained at the scene throughout Saturday afternoon. Geneva Avenue and several intersecting streets were blocked while police investigated the shootout. A body covered with a white sheet, presumably that of the suspect who had been shot, could be seen on the sidewalk of Westville Street for several hours.
Police have not yet released the name of either suspect. According to the Boston Police Deapartment website, officers recovered a handgun during the pursuit.
A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the inquiry, said the two police officers were on patrol when they encountered the two men.
The official said the man who was killed had a history of firearms violations and was known to law enforcement as a “dangerous individual.”
“He was under investigation for violence in the area and possible shootings in recent months,” said the official.
Investigators plan to interview the officers to determine what happened and how many shots were fired as they gather ballistic evidence in the area of the shooting.
Several neighborhood residents interviewed by the Globe declined to give their names, citing fear of reprisals for speaking.
But they all said shootings in the Geneva Avenue area are common.
“This is every day for us. It’s horrible, and it’s always on Geneva Ave. I’m totally fed up,” said a woman standing near the crime scene, who lives nearby with her 8-year-old daughter. “I guess you get used to it after a while, you learn how to live with it. You go in your house, mind your business, that’s it. Everybody keeps to themselves. You can’t control the street though.”
Other residents also described an atmosphere of silence and intimidation, with some calling for an increased police presence in the area.
At the press conference, Evans said police had made progress combating violence, but acknowledged the shooting was disturbing.
“This neighborhood has come a long way,” Evans said. “It’s troubling, in the daylight, to have something like this happen.”
The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, former head of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, said some activists are getting frustrated by the continued violence in the area.
“It’s just disturbing when you’ve seen an increase in officer-involved shootings around the state,” Brown said.
“I think there a lot of people who are discouraged over these kind of events,” he said.
Rufus J. Faulk, the director of programming for TenPoint, extended prayers to the officer, his family, and the deceased man’s family. He said residents are fed up with the violence.
“We have not been able to sustain a level of peace and calm in our community,” Faulk said. “It gets frustrating because we see other neighborhoods in Boston don’t have to experience what we experience. We need more support.”
Faulk said it is time for the city to look at the underlying causes of violence, such as a lack of economic opportunities and the cultural isolation of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.
“You can’t arrest your way out of this problem,” he said. “If we’re really going to be one Boston, we need more cross-neighborhood partnerships. Boston has the opportunity to be the city that shows everybody how to do it.”
There have been several other shootings in Boston this year involving police officers.
In June, Boston and State Police responding to 911 calls reporting gunfire shot Kenneth Connelly, 53, in South Boston after he pointed what turned out to be a pellet gun at them.
In July, officers approached Paul Eric Louis-Jeune in South Boston in a drug investigation; police shot him in the chest after he fired a gun at officers while running away.
In August, two undercover drug officers trying to break up a fight between two men were fired on by one of them, each officer sustaining minor bullet wounds to their legs before fatally shooting the man, 20-year-old Roudy Hendricks.
Two other officer-involved shootings, one in Dorchester in August and another in October in South Boston, did not result in any injuries.