A 31-year-old Dorchester man was only yards from his family’s home when he was gunned down Wednesday night, the latest in a spasm of deadly violence over the last five days.
Three other people have been killed since Saturday and others have been injured in shootings and stabbings that have rocked the city, bringing the number of homicides to 10 this year, compared with five last year at this time.
Police said the killings were unrelated and that violence comes in cycles.
But the numbers are a painful reminder for police officials and community activists who have been working to maintain peace that violence can burst out at any time.
“We’re very much concerned, and we’re not burying our heads in the sand,” said the Rev. William Dickerson, pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, who knows the family of one of the men killed.
“We’re doing our best to help these families,” he said. “We’ve had successes in the past, but it doesn’t mean we can stick our chests out and feel everything is going to be well.”
In the latest incident, Benjamin Martins was just doors away from his family’s Draper Street home when he was gunned down shortly before 7:30 Wednesday night.
His brother heard the gunshots, but found nothing when he went outside. Within minutes, police and ambulance crews arrived, and the brother realized Martins had been shot.
“I heard shots, but when I looked for him I didn’t see anything,” said the brother, who asked that his name not be used because the killer remains at large.
The brother said he did not know why anyone would kill Martins, who was popular in the neighborhood and could be seen exercising every morning at Ronan Park.
Yesterday, family members and friends from a close-knit Cape Verdean community visited the Martins home, offering their condolences.
“He was trying to do good for the kids, good for himself,” the brother said. “Everybody in the neighborhood knew him, everybody had some type of love for him.”
Police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll would only say that the shooting remains under investigation and that Martins was known to police.
Driscoll said that the homicides over the last week were unrelated and unique in nature, with no identifiable trend or pattern among them. She said homicide investigators are investigating each incident, and pointed to several arrests in high-profile cases over the last several weeks.
Driscoll also said the department has received notable community cooperation.
“It is not unusual for the city to experience both periods of increase and decrease when it comes to violent activity,” she said. “It tends to be cyclical. We monitor each incident and analyze it very closely to determine if there are any trends or patterns, and to also make deployment decisions for our officers.”
The burst of violence began at dawn Saturday when a 22-year-old Dorchester man was shot as he made his way to a bus stop while heading to work at Logan International Airport.
Driscoll said that the shooting remains under investigation and that the man who was killed, Ramone Daley, was not known to police.
Dickerson marched with members of his congregation to the site of the shooting yesterday to not only speak out against the violence, but to also show support for the Daley family.
Less than a day after Daley’s shooting, 23-year-old Richard Bevens of Roxbury was fatally stabbed when two groups of people fought at the intersection of Harvard and Brighton avenues in Brighton.
Four people were stabbed during the fight, which occurred about 1:45 a.m. in the popular night-life neighborhood.
Mitchell Martinez, 23, of Allston, was arrested and charged with killing Bevens.
On Monday night, a 22-year-old from Lawrence was killed during an apparent home invasion on Stellman Road in Roslindale.
Jeudy Antonio Garcia-Suazo, who was known to police, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Another person was shot but police say he is expected to survive.
Dickerson said that the outbreak shows that community activists and city leaders must continue to work even when violence seems to be at a low.
“These deaths are a serious concern ... to a lot of people in the community,” he said, stressing that the death of one person could negate any statistic.
“That’s how I keep it at a level of humanity,” he said.