The man shot and killed by Boston police after a traffic stop Tuesday was fired on when he raised a gun toward officers, according to a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case.
According to the official, who requested anonymity because the case is under investigation, the man, identified by other law enforcement officials who also requested anonymity and by friends as Burrell Ramsey-White, pointed a weapon at the officers, leading one of them to fire a single shot from his service weapon and hit him in the chest.
The incident on Yarmouth Place began when two anticrime officers patrolling the area tried to stop a Cadillac driving in the South End around 5:47 p.m. and gave chase when the car sped away toward the Southwest Corridor, one of the officials said.
The suspect ran out of the car, and the two plainclothes officers on patrol gave chase, running past several witnesses.
The officers cornered Ramsey-White in a small alley near two green dumpsters at the entrance to a nearby housing complex on Yarmouth Place, where they saw him holding the gun, the officials said. As several witnesses watched, they ordered him to drop the weapon, the officials said.
After being shot, Ramsey-White, 26, was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Some residents in the area said they heard the sirens and looked out their windows to watch the foot chase. Others said all they heard was the single gunshot. None of the residents interviewed by the Globe said they witnessed the shooting.
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis released few details about the shooting and the victim at a press conference Wednesday at police headquarters in Roxbury. He appealed to witnesses — specifically to one woman who police believe may have tried to trip Ramsey-White as he fled — to contact the department.
The two officers involved in the shooting were not injured, but were treated at Boston Medical Center for stress and released, Davis said. Both have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.
Davis said that he does not yet know why the officers pulled Ramsey-White over and that both officers will be interviewed Thursday.
“We will not confirm the actual reason for the stop until we’ve interviewed the officers,” he said.
He added that a firearm that police believe Ramsey-White was carrying has been recovered and is undergoing forensic testing, although he would not identify what kind of gun it is.
Davis also said the Cadillac has a checkered history. On Saturday, Boston police pulled the car over on Maxwell Street in Dorchester and arrested the driver, Jurrell James Laronel, on a drug charge. Laronel is the owner of the car, Davis said.
The commissioner said that investigators do not yet know the link between the victim, the Cadillac, and Laronel.
Davis also confirmed that Ramsey-White was in a home on Canterbury Street in Roslindale on Aug. 12 when four people were shot, one of them fatally. Jemald Allen, 34, was killed, and police have not made any arrests in his slaying. Ramsey-White was not identified as a suspect in that killing.
According to court records, Ramsey-White pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court in 2006 to weapons and drug charges and received a two-year sentence, to be served concurrently with a prior sentence.
Ramsey-White pleaded guilty in the same court in 2008 to distributing a Class B drug and received a three-year sentence, court records show.
Ramsey-Burrell was also indicted in Worcester County in late 2010 on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, said Tim Connolly, the district attorney’s spokesman. He pleaded guilty in June 2011 and was sentenced to a year of probation, Connolly said.
Friends and neighbors of Ramsey-White gathered near where he was shot to mourn and question whether the shooting was justified.
“You have a man surrounded and you shoot him? There is nothing that could have provoked that,” said Will Phillips, 29, who said he grew up with Ramsey-White.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney, said a senior prosecutor will work with the Boston police Firearms Discharge Investigation Team and review the facts of the case to determine whether charges are warranted.
Anthony Thomas, 24, a childhood friend, said Ramsey-White helped promote events for 2euceFam, a group that organizes events in the city. Thomas said a vigil for Ramsey-White is planned for Friday night, and 2euceFam said on Twitter that it will be held at 7 at 130 Dartmouth St.Travis Andersen and Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Wesley Lowery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.