Gregory Josey didn’t finish his high school equivalency course, but yesterday afternoon five classmates and his teacher placed his certificate of participation on a chain-link fence, several feet from the spot where he and his best friend were shot to death Wednesday.
As the students sat in class yesterday morning, near Josey’s empty seat, they decided to create a memorial for their slain classmate. They wrapped the memorial four posterboards with written messages and remembrances, snapshots of him, and T-shirts from the program in clear plastic and drove from the GED Plus program on Washington Street in Roxbury to Bowdoin Street in Dorchester. Under a constant drizzle, they put up the posters and surrounded them with four roses and five small, white candles.
“We sat around and talked and people were really fed up with what’s happening, so the students demanded to do this,” said teacher Shana Berger.
Michelle Carrasquillo, 16, remembered Josey as a jokester. “He made all of us laugh,” she said. “He didn’t know Spanish, but he would try to rap using some of the words he heard me say.”
As a favor to him, Carrasquillo said, she signed Josey out of class Wednesday around midday and he gave her a kiss on the cheek before departing.
Less than two hours later, about 1:50 p.m., Josey, 18, and his best friend, Kenneth Murray Jr., 21, were shot to death, Boston’s 26th and 27th homicides of the year. That is five ahead of the pace last year, when the city recorded the most killings in a decade.
No arrests had been made by last night, and police did not release details on how the slayings occurred, only that both men were shot multiple times.
Police also have not officially identified the victims, but both families confirmed the names.
Josey was charged with drug possession in 2004 and domestic violence in 2005, according to court records. He was attempting to change his life, friends and relatives said, and recently he talked a lot about things he wanted to accomplish.
“He did an essay about how he wanted to open a barber shop, a place where the community could gather and play pool and watch TV,” Berger said.
Josey was scheduled to graduate from GED Plus in September, but his essay will be read during a graduation ceremony June 20.
Yasiris Navarro said she met Josey six years ago when they lived on the same street in Roxbury’s Orchard Gardens. “I can’t believe he’s gone,” she said. “He has a little boy and he just wanted to be a good father.”
Murray recently had been released from jail after an arrest on charges of selling marijuana, relatives have said. He also served 30 days in jail for drug possession in early 2004, according to court records.
Josey would often visit Murray, who lived near the area where the two men were shot, said Garrett Diaz, 20, Josey’s cousin.
Brian R. Ballou can be reached at email@example.com.