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The Boston Globe

Special Reports

Dorchester man, 19, slain on front porch

A 19-year-old Dorchester man was shot and killed on his porch yesterday, despite heavy police presence in his Bowdoin Street neighborhood initiated by a recent surge of violence.

Dwayne Banks, of 147 Bowdoin St., the father of a 3-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, died at 5 p.m. at Boston City Hospital from a bullet wound to his chest, officials said.

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Family members and a police source said investigators believe Banks was killed in retaliation for the murder of Dana Wright, 21, who was shot and killed several blocks away on Bowdoin Street on April 15.

Family members said a police cruiser left their street 10 minutes before the shooting.

“The police were here all day long,” said his mother, Carmella Banks, 40. “Then they disappeared and my baby got shot.”

Boston police denied charges that their actions left Banks vulnerable.

“There’s tragedy, a young man is dead, but to blame the Boston Police Department is unfair,” Capt. Robert Dunford said. “We did not leave the area.”

Dunford said at the time of the shooting another cruiser was around the corner from Banks’ house and responded immediately. Police had not made any arrests as of last night.

Neighbors and family members said that at times yesterday, six detectives were walking along Bowdoin Street, a police cruiser sat across the street from Banks’ house, a police wagon was parked at the Geneva Avenue intersection, and unmarked police cars patrolled local avenues.

Dunford said the heavy security was prompted by fears of more trouble to come on the street following two shootings earlier this month, including one at a dry cleaners several blocks away that killed Wright, and another in which an unidentified shooting victim stumbled to Banks’ house.

Police said they made four unrelated arrests in the neighborhood yesterday on outstanding warrants. Neighbors, who have been working hard to revitalize the community, blame two rival groups of teen-agers for the ongoing violence that has now claimed at least two lives.

Yesterday’s shooting occurred around 4:30 p.m. as Banks and an unidentified companion sat on some milk crates on the porch outside the family’s first-floor apartment, located next to a day care center. An unknown assailant approached the porch, fired a single shot into Banks’ chest and ran away, police said. Banks’ children live with their mother and were not in the apartment, police said.

Dunford said he did not believe Banks was responsible for Wright’s killing. An investigation is continuing.

Family members, however, said they had been warned by a probation officer that there might be retaliation for Wright’s death, even though they, too, insisted Banks played no part in the shooting. A wake for Wright was held yesterday in a Dorchester funeral home.

Wright and Banks grew up together in the neighborhood, and residents said they believe they were members of rival groups. Police said they have been trying to get Banks and his family evicted from the Bowdoin Street apartment because of the violence, but their efforts so far have been unsuccessful.

“This has been a center of activity,” said Dunford. “What’s sad here is that the community has worked really hard for the past three years. There are a lot of people doing good things here.” Banks, his mother and three sisters have lived on Bowdoin Street for about four years.

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