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17-year-old girl shot to death inside Hyatt Regency hotel in Boston; man killed on Dorchester street

Boston homicide detectives are investigating the death of a person inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Crossing.
Boston homicide detectives are investigating the death of a person inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Crossing.David Ryan/Globe Staff

A 17-year-old girl was shot and killed inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Crossing on Thursday night and Boston police are investigating whether a recovered gun and a man taken into custody minutes later on Beacon Hill are connected to the fatal shooting, one of two that took place in Boston that night.

Police were called to the high-rise hotel on Avenue de Lafayette around 11:30 p.m. Thursday to investigate reports that a woman had been shot inside a room on the 15th floor of the hotel, according to police and recordings of police dispatch from Broadcastify.com.

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The teen, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene by Boston Emergency Medical Services personnel and police were told by hotel security that a man wearing a puffy jacket had hurriedly left the hotel around the time of the shooting, according to police and dispatch recordings.

Officers patrolling in the area stopped a man matching the description they had near the intersection of Spruce and Chestnut streets on Beacon Hill, where they also allegedly recovered a handgun. He was identified by law enforcement officials as Messiah T. Leggett of Hyde Park.

“In speaking to police, Mr. Leggett acknowledged his possession of the firearm inside the hotel room where the deceased, a 17-year-old girl, was located,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins said in a press release Friday evening.

Separately, Boston Police Sergeant Detective John Boyle said “We are looking into the possible connection” between the homicide and the Beacon Hill arrest.

Leggett, 20, was arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court where a not guilty plea was entered to a single count of illegal possession of a firearm. Judge James Martin Stanton set bail at $100,000 cash bail and ordered Leggett to wear a GPS locating device if he posts bail, according to court records.

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The judge also revoked for 60 days Leggett’s bail on a West Roxbury gun charge, prosecutors said.

According to West Roxbury Municipal Court records, Leggett was arrested on gun charges last year, bail was set at $7,500 cash, and he was ordered to wear a GPS bracelet. Leggett posted the $7,500 cash bail but allegedly cut off the GPS bracelet last Oct. 2 and was ordered held without bail for 60 days. It was not immediately clear from court records when he was released from pre-trial detention.

Police would only say the shooting happened inside the hotel.

But City Council Edward Flynn, whose district includes Downtown Crossing, said the area police commander indicated to him that a party was underway in a hotel room when the victim was shot.

He said he “talked with residents and business owners about this case. I have asked the Boston Licensing Board to enforce regulations on large parties and gatherings in hotel rooms,” Flynn said in a statement. “These gatherings not only bring public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also present public safety challenges. Hotel operators need to do their part in ensuring the health, safety, and quality of life for our residents.”

Rishi Shukla, cofounder and head of the Downtown Boston Residents’ Association, expressed concern about the shooting.

“We are deeply troubled by the shooting and are eager to have more complete information in the hours ahead. Fortunately, much of the crime that we have seen in Downtown has not been random and we have no reason to believe that last night’s shooting is any different,’' the group said in the statement. “We appreciate Boston Police Department and MBTA Transit Police efforts to ensure the safety of Downtown residents.”

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The hotel issued a statement that did not provide any information about the woman, such as whether she was a guest or an employee.

“We can confirm that an isolated incident occurred at Hyatt Regency Boston late Thursday evening, and our thoughts go out to those who have been affected,” the statement said. “The hotel is fully cooperating with local authorities on their investigation, and based on information we have at this time, the incident does not pose a security threat to guests or colleagues. Further questions should be directed to Boston Police Department.”

About 90 minutes prior to the hotel shooting, police received 911 calls about a shooting at the intersection of Capen and Evans streets in Dorchester. Arriving officers found a man lying on the ground.

He was pronounced dead by EMS personnel at the scene. City Councilor at Large Julia Mejia said the violence took place just steps from her front door.

A Boston police spokeswoman said late Friday afternoon that officials did not believe there was any connection between the two shootings.

Correspondent Adam Sennott and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.