South Boston killing was drug-related, officials say

Shot 11 times, teen victim ‘butchered’

The shooting shocked residents along West Second street, where expensive condominiums have been under construction for several months.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
The shooting shocked residents along West Second Street, where expensive condominiums have been under construction for several months.

The fatal shooting of a man outside a high-end condo complex in South Boston appears to be drug-
related, officials say.

Jonathan Reyes, 18, was shot 11 times, several times in the head, early Monday morning on West Second Street, said two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the homicide investigation.

“He was butchered,” one of the officials said.


One witness said the victim ­appeared to still be alive when emergency responders first reached him.

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Boston police, who released the victim’s name Tuesday, did not state a possible motive. But the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said investigators believe the killing is connected to drugs. A white powder was found at the scene of the slaying, and authorities are testing to determine whether it was heroin or cocaine, one of the ­officials said.

According to that official, investigators believe someone pulled up in a car and opened fire on Reyes.

The shooting shocked residents along West Second street, where ­expensive condominiums have been under construction for several months. It is an area teeming with young office workers and families.

On Tuesday, mothers strolled with their children, and men walked their dogs past the crime scene near E Street, where the day before police had been scouring for ­evidence and firefighters washed away the victim’s blood.


“It’s freaky,” said Christopher Hershey, a 31-year-old foreman from Hingham who has spent the last year in the neighborhood overseeing construction of condos. “That doesn’t happen around here. It’s all young professionals around here.”

The shooting occurred outside a three-story, slate-gray complex where a two-bedroom condo can sell for more than $450,000. Many residents were jolted out of bed just before 3 a.m. Monday, awakened by the sound of several pops.

Jon Ramos, a 32-year-old employee at an architectural design firm who lives across the street, said he woke up to the sound of two gunshots. He looked outside and saw a man lying on the sidewalk. He said he saw another man run out of the complex, holding a cellphone, and rush to the victim.

“He was sort of the hero of the night,” Ramos said. “He stayed with him until the ambu­lance arrived.”

Ramos said he could see the victim move his arm slightly, suggesting he was still alive.


One of the law enforcement officials said a search warrant was executed at the apartment where Reyes lived, near the scene of the killing.

Drug-related crimes have caused anxiety in South Boston recently. Police launched a crackdown on drug activity in the neighborhood, where residents were outraged after the April 2012 killing of Barbara Coyne, a 67-year-old grandmother who was stabbed in her East Seventh Street home. Prosecutors have said that Timothy Kostka, 26, a ­reputed drug ­addict who lived in the neighborhood, slashed Coyne’s throat after breaking into her apartment, where he hoped to steal her son’s valuable fishing gear, then sell it to pay for drugs. He has pleaded not guilty.

Since then, police have ­arrested 222 people and issued summonses to dozens more in South Boston, officials ­announced in December.

Bill Linehan, who represents South Boston on the City Council, said that there has been a significant amount of work done in the neighborhood. People are being arraigned in South Boston District Court on drug charges, and residents have packed community meetings and held events promoting safety and sobriety.

“There seemed to be great progress,” said Linehan, who lives less than a mile from the site of Monday’s shooting. “To see this happen at this time is unsettling.”

Unlike Monday’s shooting, Linehan said other drug-related assaults and killings in South Boston were apparently committed by addicts fueled by drugs or desperate for a fix.

“This incident seems different,” Linehan said. “It seems different because it seems to me like an execution.”

Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff contributed to this report. ­Maria Cramer can be reached at