Since his 23-year-old son Daniel P. Taylor was shot and killed in Dorchester last February, the Rev. Moses J. Taylor had become used to phone conversations with the detectives assigned to the case.
The calls were devoid of happiness, or the answers he sought. They usually ended with a promise that no one had forgotten his son, and that the detectives were still looking.
So when the phone rang Wednesday and Taylor learned that the man suspected of shooting his son was in Boston police custody, he had to hang up and compose himself before calling the Police Department back for the rest of the details.
“I’m happy to know that they’ve caught the person, but I’m sad that another young person — the devil is just taking our children away,” said Taylor, 53.
Police arrested Marquis Smith, 23, of Boston, at his workplace around 2 p.m. Wednesday without incident and have charged him with the murder, Officer James Kenneally said.
Daniel Taylor was a caring, religious young man and a role model for the youth in his community, his father said.
He would have turned 24 last week. To celebrate his memory, more than 70 family and friends gathered at his grave on his birthday, ate cake, and sang his praises, Taylor said.
In the aftermath of his son’s death, Taylor, pastor of The Anointed Church in Dorchester, has launched an informal campaign to convince youth that they should never pick up a gun or other weapon because they are angry.
“I can’t be angry no more,” he said. “Anger won’t reverse the hurt and everything — forgiveness will.”
On Father’s Day, Taylor led a group of marchers carrying “Families Against Guns and Violence” signs past the scene of his son’s murder on Boston Street. He was joined by police Superintendent in Chief William Gross and other officers.
Gross said the department supports Taylor’s youth campaign and would like to work with community groups to teach young people how to peacefully resolve conflicts.
“It’s up to the village as a whole to tackle this problem of senseless violence,” Gross said.
In some respects, the arrest of a suspect in his son’s death changes much for Taylor — he finally has some closure. But he said he did not know how he would sleep Wednesday night, knowing that in the days ahead he would look into the faces of his son’s alleged killer and that man’s family.
In the meantime, he is looking for ways to spread his message.
Taylor has printed shirts with the slogan “Put the Gun Down” and is looking for sponsors to help his group distribute them to schools. He would like to see the shirts sent to every family in the city.Todd Feathers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ToddFeathers.