BROCKTON — Christopher Rosario was a sharp dresser, a young man with an “old soul” who mentored children, loved traditional Cape Verdean music, and was always asking his elderly neighbor if she needed her grass mowed or her snow shoveled. He was the youngest in a big family, and was doted on by his siblings.
“He and I share the same birthday, 12 years apart,” said Rosario’s brother, Emanuel Do Rosario, 37. “He was my 12th birthday present. A big, fat boy.”
Early on Saturday morning, Rosario, 25, was shot to death on Grove Street in Brockton as he drove home from the Morabeza Nightclub. His death marked the city’s third homicide in less than two weeks. There have been four homicides in the city since the beginning of the year; last year, there were 10 homicides, and in 2012, there were seven, according to officials.
“This violence really has to has to stop,” said Dr. Ali Aby Muhammad, who mentored Rosario. “He wasn’t just a statistic . . . He had a promising future, he did a lot of wonderful things. He was a cut above the rest.”
In response to the recent killings, Brockton police, Mayor Bill Carpenter, and Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz on Tuesday announced initiatives to “restore safe neighborhoods,” including stepped-up police and gang unit patrols in high-crime areas at night, increased information-sharing between Brockton police, State Police, and Boston police, and new requirements for video surveillance in businesses that serve alcohol.
“People ask, is there an uptick in crime?” said Cruz. “Right now, to me, there’s the same, unfortunately. Any one homicide in and of itself is a terrible tragedy. . . . It’s our responsibility to make sure we get in front of that.”
This year, there have been four homicides in Plymouth County, Cruz said — all in Brockton.
The killings do not appear to be related, he said.
On Jan. 10, 49-year-old Jacinto Correia was stabbed to death in a first-floor apartment on Prospect Street after an argument. Joao DeAndrade was charged with murder in the case, which is pending, according to a Plymouth County spokeswoman.
On April 11, Elson G. Miranda, 21, of Brockton, was shot to death inside a restaurant on Ames Street. No arrests have been made.
Also on April 11, police found the body of Jacinto Vieira, 20, who had been stabbed to death on Green Street. Terrance Terrell Richardson, 19, was arrested on charges of murder and armed robbery.
And around 2:25 a.m. April 19, Rosario was driving a friend’s car east on Grove Street when another car pulled up along the driver’s side and began shooting. Rosario was hit, and the car veered off the road and crashed into a fence. No one has been arrested.
Cruz declined to comment on the individual cases, except to say that they were not random, and that officials expect to make arrests in the two killings that have not been cleared.
Neither Rosario nor his passenger, Rosario’s family said, had problems with anyone.
“For something like this to happen is a big shock to us,” said Rosario’s sister, Hortencia Do Rosario, 36. “We just can’t conceive it.”
Cruz declined to comment specifically on Rosario’s killing.
Carpenter said he plans to ask the City Council for $170,000 to transfer into the police overtime account to pay for increased patrols. He said he plans to forward a proposal to the city’s license commission that would require video surveillance inside and outside all establishments that serve alcohol. Carpenter said he has already begun to ask other businesses to voluntarily install cameras facing public areas.
An improved anonymous crime-tip text messaging service will be set up, Carpenter said, and he has proposed a change to the city’s nuisance ordinance that will require that all graffiti be removed.
“I do know that all of the law enforcement agencies here in the city, led by the Brockton Police Department, are very proactively removing guns and removing drugs from the streets of the city,” said Carpenter. When killings happen, he said “it just strengthens our resolve to apply even more resources and work even harder.”
Rosario lived with his parents, and their Dorchester home was filled with relatives on Tuesday afternoon who surrounded Rosario’s weeping mother. Rosario was a volunteer for several local programs including the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester. He loved fishing, skiing, and soccer.
“He had such a good heart,” said his aunt and godmother, Leonor Amado. “They have stolen my happy.”