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Bail set at $1 million in Chinatown shootings

A felon who allegedly shot four people in Chinatown early Sunday morning was on federal probation from a previous weapons charge and had just been released from prison in June, according to authorities and court records.

Boston Municipal Court Judge Thomas C. Horgan ordered Kareem Smith, 29, of Malden, held on $1 million cash bail Monday, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. Smith faces charges of unlawful possession of a firearm as a second offense, carrying a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and four counts of both armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

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Authorities say Smith opened fire about 3 a.m. Sunday near Essex and Edinboro streets in Chinatown, apparently hitting four men. One was hit in the chest, one in the buttocks, one in the leg, and one in the stomach. The men, ages 22, 24, 25, and 27, suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

Police said they arrested Smith soon after and seized two guns.

Smith’s lawyer, Arnold Cohen, said police are relying on shaky eyewitness testimony. He said Smith and his girlfriend told him three of the men who were shot are actually Smith’s friends.

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“He totally denies it,” Cohen said in an interview. “He maintains that he was out with his friends, some shooting started, and he ran like everyone else. He was hiding behind a car or something when he was arrested.”

Federal court records show that Smith pleaded guilty in 2010 to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 5½ years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to court records. Smith was given credit for time served from June 5, 2009, when he was arrested with a semiautomatic weapon in Boston.

A federal Bureau of Prisons database shows that Smith was released from custody June 12. Cohen confirmed that is when his client was released.

One condition of that release was that Smith stay out of the Boston police Mattapan district, where, prosecutors said, he had “been shot twice” and had “nearly all of his interactions with the police.” He was also ordered to avoid a number of friends from Norfolk Street, with whom authorities said he had multiple criminal contacts.

After his release, Smith was not supposed to possess a firearm and was expected to stick to a 9 p.m. curfew for three months.

Records from the 2010 federal sentencing show that Judge William G. Young told Smith his lawyer at the time had bargained for leniency.

“Now, they did that, and these various restrictions are all with the sincere hope that this is the end of this cycle of law breaking for you,” Young said at the time.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court next Sept. 17.

Zachary T. Sampson
can be reached at zachary.sampson@globe.com.
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