Two men were fatally shot, and a third was wounded in a drive-by shooting along the Interstate 90 overpass in the South End early Monday, in an apparently gang-related attack that was carried out in seconds, police said.
Authorities have spoken with several witnesses and two people who were also in the victims’ car but were not injured in the gunfire. Those occupants apparently escaped from the vehicle, a light-colored BMW, unharmed, said Cheryl Fiandaca, spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department.
Witnesses told police that the gunfire, which occurred at 2:12 a.m., came from a grayish or silver-colored sport utility vehicle with Rhode Island license plates.
The SUV pulled up alongside the BMW at the I-90 overpass at Shawmut Avenue and Herald Street, and the occupant or occupants of the SUV fired a barrage of bullets at the car, Fiandaca said. The driver of the car and the front-seat passenger died at the scene, she said.
Police have not released their identities. A law enforcement official acknowledged that the victims are tied to a Cape Verdean gang based in Dorchester. The official requested anonymity because of not being authorized to speak about the case.
One of three passengers in the rear seat sustained wounds that were not believed to be life-threatening and was taken to Tufts Medical Center. Fiandaca declined to say whether investigators have spoken to that victim and whether he was able to give authorities a description of the assailant or assailants. She also declined to say whether he was able to provide a license plate number for the SUV.
Daniel P. Linskey, police superintendent in chief, confirmed in a telephone interview that investigators have talked with the two individuals who were not injured.
Drive-by shootings are no more problematic to solve than those committed on foot and are usually targeted, he said.
Linskey also appealed for the public’s help. “We do know that when people step forward in the community and help us, we solve these cases,” he said.
The Rev. Jeffrey Brown — cofounder of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, an antiviolence agency — said, “It sounds like a targeted incident. My fear is that it’s hard to get our hands around it, because young people are increasingly finding it difficult to settle the easiest of disputes in a peaceful manner; they are resorting to extreme violence.
“We’re at a point where we are nearing the limits of what law enforcement and social services can do,” Brown said. “It is time for the community to step up and exercise a moral voice around this. We need the older folks in the community, the parents, to get more involved.”
The homicide was the city’s 26th this year, the same number as at this point last year.
With Monday’s double homicide, there have been at least five killings in the South End since 2011, all of which occurred in close proximity to this latest fatal shooting.
In February, Mohamed Hassan, 21, of Boston, was fatally shot at 423 Shawmut Ave., less than a mile from Monday’s scene. In September 2011, Alex Sierra, 18, was fatally shot near the Villa Victoria housing development, about a half-mile from Monday’s shooting. According to prosecutors, a teen on a day pass from Department of Youth Services custody shot Sierra.
In August 2011, Raymond Lemar, 33, was fatally shot near the intersection of Harrison Avenue and East Berkeley Street, two blocks away from the scene of Monday’s double homicide.
Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Brian R. Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.