Metro

Separate shootings in Boston leave 1 dead, 2 wounded

 Boston, MA - 3/23/2016 - Christopher Sinatra reacts as he talks about his friend Luigi Epifania who was shot and killed on Wordsworth Street in East Boston, MA, March 23, 2016. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
Keith Bedford/Globe staff
Christopher Sinatra reacted as he talked about his friend Luigi Epifania who was shot and killed on Wordsworth Street in East Boston.

A 32-year-old man was shot to death near his East Boston home, and a man and a woman were shot and injured in Jamaica Plain during a burst of violence Tuesday night in Boston, officials said.

In East Boston, Luigi Epifania was shot around 10:30 p.m., Boston police said. Neighbors said they heard four to five gunshots before officers descended on the street.

“I can’t believe he’s actually dead,” said neighborhood resident Christopher Sinatra , who visited the scene of the shooting Wednesday morning and threw a penny over his shoulder in his friend’s honor.

JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Luigi Epifania.
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Police declined to comment on a possible motive for the crime.

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Epifania gained notoriety — and later made legal history — in 2007, when he was prosecuted for attacking and killing “Mr. Nunu,’’ a neighborhood cat who hung around Princeton Street in East Boston.

He was convicted at trial and was sentenced to 2½ years in jail, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty to beating a man in East Boston two days before the cat was killed.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court later upheld Epifania’s conviction for killing the cat, ruling in 2011 that anyone who kills a “neighborhood cat’’ could face criminal charges. The law had previously said the pet had to be owned by another person to warrant charges.

“There is no apparent reason a domesticated cat could not be owned by more than one unrelated person,’’ the court wrote in its ruling.

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Epifania faced new charges in 2010 after he was found with about 150 OxyContin pills in his car, records show.

He pleaded guilty the following year and was sentenced to serve five years in prison, but he was released on bail in January 2013 after it was discovered that the drug testing in his case had been conducted by Annie Dookhan, a former state chemist who was sent to prison for falsifying records.

His guilty plea was reconsidered in October 2014, and Epifania was given a new sentence that spared him prison.

He was placed on probation, which was due to end next month, according to Coria Holland, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Probation Department. She said Epifania complied with the terms of his release, including staying drug-free and submitting to drug testing.

Epifania’s lawyer, Vincent Tofani, said he had made some “significant positive changes” in his life.

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“It’s pretty devastating,” he said.

After his release, Epifania completed an apprentice training program and joined the bricklayers union, Tofani wrote in court filings. His daughter turned 2 last month.

“He struggled with substance abuse as a young man,” Tofani said. “I know that he has been sober for over 10 years. I always knew him to be very ambitious and hardworking.”

Epifania’s family declined to comment.

In Jamaica Plain, police are investigating a shooting on School Street that wounded a woman in her 20s, leaving her in critical condition, and a man in his 30s. The shooting took place around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

Neighbors said the occupants of two vehicles began arguing, leading to several shots being fired.

“It was just a lot of commotion,” said one School Street resident. “The yelling and screaming woke us up, and then we heard banging.”

Pablo Cruz said his wife heard three gunshots before a car sped off.

“This is rare,” Cruz said. “This is a nice community where everyone comes together.”

Police are trying to determine what prompted the attack.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi. Astead W. Herndon can be reached at astead.herndon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @AsteadWH