One day after a 9-year-old boy was shot to death by his brother in an apparent tragic accident in their Mattapan home, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the city will partner with the Police Department on a gun buyback program, in an effort to reduce the high number of guns circulating in the city.
“The message for me is clear,” said Walsh. “We need help from the community to find out where these guns are. Let us know, alert police, so we can work to get these guns off the streets.”
On Friday morning, a 14-year-old boy was playing with a loaded gun inside his family’s three-decker on Morton Street when the gun went off, according to police, and the bullet struck the boy’s younger brother in the chest, killing him.
The 14-year-old, who has not been identified because of his age, was charged with unlawful gun possession and involuntary manslaughter, and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in a closed hearing Juvenile Court. Authorities said he was handling the gun recklessly when it fired. The boy’s younger brother also has not been identified.
There was no evidence that anyone else in the home knew the boy had the gun, authorities said Friday. On Saturday, Walsh and a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office said that the question of where the boy got the gun was under investigation.
“All I can say is it’s a tragedy,” said Walsh, who spoke during a community event at an ice rink in Dorchester where reporters asked him about the shooting.
The city has been considering a gun buyback for several weeks, after a violent beginning to the year that saw nine homicides in January, many of those gang-related, according to police. Clergy met with Police Commissioner William Evans and Superintendent in Chief William Gross at the end of January to discuss ways to end the violence, and emerged from the closed-door session with the announcement that gun buyback was a possibility.
Walsh said today the buyback will go forward.
“We’ll be putting some form of a gun buyback together,” he said, though he said details and timing have not been determined. “It was such a shock yesterday to a lot of people, including myself. You don’t want to get a call that a 9-year-old boy got shot. We’re still working through it.”
No one answered the door this morning at the victim’s home.
Francisco Jiminez, who identified himself outside the three-decker on Saturday as its landlord, described the family members as nice people with whom he had not had any problems. He said they had lived there for more than a year.
He was outside the building when the shooting happened, he said, but did not hear a gunshot — he just saw the boys’ sister run out of the house to tell their mother that something had happened, he said.
In the hours following Friday’s shooting, Boston police seized three illegal guns in separate cases, the department said in a statement posted on its website Saturday.
Just before 6 p.m. Friday, police said, members of the gang unit arrested Steve Stephen, 23, of Boston, who had an illegal gun inside a car found in the area of Walk Hill and Harvard streets in Mattapan, about half a mile from the Morton Street home.
About an hour later, officers observing an apparent drug deal on Blue Hill Avenue in the Grove Hall section of Dorchester arrested Daquan Dooley, 24, of Boston, and seized a gun found in a car in which he had been a passenger.
And at about 10:45 p.m., gang unit officers arrested John Gomes, 29, of Boston, after pulling him over in the area of Bird and Sayward streets in a car that had been rented under another name. Inside the car, police said, they found a loaded gun and three bags of what appeared to be marijuana.