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Violent weekend in Boston claims three lives; Wu says community leaders are ‘reeling’

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff/file

After three people were shot to death over the weekend, renewing calls from community leaders for plans to curb gun violence, Mayor Michelle Wu said Boston is “reeling” from the surge in deaths while noting that homicides are down compared to last year.

“Our community members are really reeling, we all are,” Wu said Monday in an interview on WBUR. “It has been a really painful last couple of weeks and even hours and days when it comes to community violence in the city . . . Even one instance of violence is completely unacceptable and has impacts that last for a long time in our community.”


While the number of shootings is lower than last year at this time, “instances of young people and women being involved [as victims are] on the rise,” Wu said.

As of Monday, 33 people were victims of homicide in Boston this year, compared to 37 recorded by Oct. 16 last year, police said. Last year, 10 women, seven of whom were Black, were killed, police said. This year, five women, all of whom were Black, have been killed, including two in recent days.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday, Jasmine Burrell 33, was fatally shot near her Fairlawn Avenue home in Mattapan. On Oct. 16 around 9 p.m., 24-year-old Quaaneiruh Goodwyn was shot outside a convenience store on Geneva Avenue while filming a video with friends. Two men were wounded during that incident, police said.

Both women were mothers: Burrell’s son was 11 and Goodwyn’s son was 5 months old, friends said.

The spate of violence began around 1 a.m. Saturday when Daniel Sanders, 36, died after being shot near 39 Baird St. in Dorchester, police said.

On Sunday night around 10:30, a man was shot on Geneva Avenue, the same street as Goodwyn. The man, later identified by police as 21-year-old Christian Thistle-Kavanaugh of Dorchester, was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.


“The three gun deaths in Boston this weekend along with the shooting death of another woman just a week ago have stunned and saddened us all,” Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement. “Our communities are strong, but the constant flow of illegal firearms into the hands of people happy to pull a trigger has a terribly corrosive effect. I thank everyone who is working to address these acts of violence and I hope our combined efforts can reduce these shocking events.”

No arrests have been made in the three killings. So far this year, 10 homicides have been cleared by arrest, compared to 25 last year.

Other violence has also left residents unnerved. Earlier this month, a 14-year-old boy was shot to death, the third juvenile in Boston to die from gun violence this year, police said. And Jean McGuire, a 91-year-old civil rights and education leader, was stabbed in Franklin Park earlier this month while walking her dog. She managed to fight off her attacker, who remains at large, and survived.

“The last few weeks have been really, really tough,” said the Rev. Willie Bodrick, senior pastor for the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. The recent violence has “been traumatizing for so many. No one wants to see the loss of life.”

Community leaders want to make sure city officials are offering young people the trauma support they need, he said.


“We want to make sure that folks are addressing the stressors that we’ve experienced,” he said. “In a moment of such difficulty, we need to be thinking about preventative measures to address this type of harm, this type of problem.”

Despite the recent succession of shootings, gun violence has declined overall, with 146 victims through Oct. 16 compared to 166 at that point last year, police said. Firearm arrests are keeping pace, with 494 this year compared to 505 through Oct. 16 last year.

There has been an increase in the number of multiple victim shootings, records show. There have been 18 shootings with two victims, compared to nine through last Oct. 16. There have been four with three victims, compared to two at this time last year.

The Rev. William Dickerson of the Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, said he is concerned the overall decline in shootings might create a sense of complacency.

“We have to make sure that we are not going to tolerate violence as if this is normal behavior. It’s not,’' he said. “It’s not normal. We’re outraged and we need to work together to strategize.”

He said that if City Hall offers up “new initiatives, we have to make sure that the new initiatives are based on people who have training in the skill set necessary to deal with the grieving families and traumatized families.”

Michael Flaherty, who chairs the City Council’s public safety committee, said the city needs a plan “that brings all stakeholders together.”


“We need the Boston police to step up their presence, particularly in the hotspots and we need clergy and community groups to work hand in hand with the police and do interventions with susceptible kids,” he said Monday.

“We need to work with the courts and the schools, as well,” he added. “Right now everyone is well-intentioned but they’re not communicating together. Everybody’s operating in separate silos with their programs.”

City Councilor Brian Worrell said the violence that continues to unfold across his district, which includes sizable parts of Mattapan and Dorchester, as well as parts of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, is “unacceptable and something has to be done.”

“We need swift action to address the spike in violence now, and effective long term solutions as well,” he said in a statement. “Everyone has the right to feel safe walking in the streets and being at home with their families, that is the basic level of responsibility we have to provide as a city.”

Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.