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Judge orders former English High dean with connections to Latin Kings to pay $10m to student he shot

Shaun Harrison shown in Suffolk Superior Court during his 2018 trial.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Gl/File

A federal judge on Friday ordered that Shaun O. Harrison, the former English High School dean convicted of shooting a student he had recruited to sell marijuana, pay $10 million for emotional distress and punitive damages to the student he tried to execute.

“This was a terrible and heinous act by Harrison,” US District Judge Leo T. Sorokin wrote in his six-page order. “Harrison abused a position of trust, responsibility, and authority.”

Luis “Angel” Rodriguez was a 17-year-old sophomore when Harrison shot him in the back of the head on March 3, 2015, in Roxbury. He survived by flagging down a passing motorist who called 911.


Sorkin awarded Rodriguez $7.5 million for pain and suffering and emotional distress, along with $2.5 million in punitive damages, according to Sorokin’s order for default judgment.

Boston Public Schools previously was dismissed from the civil lawsuit filed by Rodriguez.

Harrison, a self-styled preacher and antiviolence activist who students called “Rev,” was hired at the Jamaica Plain school to be the dean of academics and was responsible for keeping order in hallways and the cafeteria, mentoring troubled students, and teaching anger management, according to testimony from Harrison’s May 2018 trial.

But Harrison led a dual existence, investigators found. Police said Harrison’s apartment on Pompeii Street in Roxbury was a hiding place for guns and drugs, and a gathering place for young men with checkered pasts, some of whom, like Harrison, bore gang tattoos.

A large lion painted on one wall inside the apartment wore a five-point crown — a nod to the Latin Kings, according to law enforcement officials.

A Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted Harrison of the shooting and weapons charges in May 2018. Harrison was sentenced to up to 26 years in prison. But court filings show that sentence was reduced in April to up to 20 years.


Rodriguez’s trial testimony helped secure Harrison’s convictions “but also has resulted in his ongoing fear of retaliation from the Latin Kings,” Sorokin wrote in his order.

What began as a counseling relationship between Harrison and Rodriguez grew into a transactional one when Harrison offered to front ounces of “weed” for $200 each to the student so he could make money, Sorokin’s order said.

“Over time Harrison accused Rodriguez of stealing from him, and Rodriguez complained that the deal was unfairly lopsided,” Sorokin wrote.

Around this same time, Harrison told Rodriguez that he was a member of the East Coast Latin Kings gang and that he kept a gun in his apartment. Rodriguez expressed his desire not to associate with either gangs or guns, the order said.

Harrison invited Rodriguez to his place to meet some girls but first they met at a Sunoco gas station on Massachusetts Avenue. That’s where Harrison shot Rodriguez in the back of the head at point-blank range, Sorokin wrote.

The bullet missed Rodriguez’s brain stem and carotid artery by 2 centimeters but shattered his jaw, the order said.

Half of Rodriguez’s face remains paralyzed, he has hearing loss and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the order and Rodriguez’s lawyer.

Rodriguez has also been fighting an addiction to narcotics which developed while he was prescribed pain medication during his physical recovery, according to court filings.

“He’s rebounding from addiction to opiates,” Rodriguez’s lawyer, John T. Martin, said in a telephone interview Friday. “He’s very involved with his community and his family and is doing therapeutic things. He’s striving and thriving and working his way back into getting a job.”


With Harrison imprisoned, it is highly unlikely Rodriguez will ever collect his money.

“We are investigating all possible ways to collect the judgment and ensure that Mr. Harrison is never able to profit from selling this story to any type of media outlet,” Martin said.

Rodriguez is appealing the dismissal of Boston Public Schools from the lawsuit.

“I think it’s very disappointing that the Boston Public Schools has refused to be accountable to Angel for their part in their failure to protect him from Shaun Harrison,” Martin said.

A schools spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misspelled the judge’s name. The Globe regrets the error.

Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.