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Man killed in shootout with officers ID’d

Parents blame death on police

Investigators returned to Willowwood Street Monday where the day before Boston police officers shot and killed a man identified by family as Ross Batista, 38, a man who studied architecture made a living renovating houses.

Police say Batista, a graduate of Mount Ida College, opened fire on officers early Sunday as he sat in a car in a neighborhood on the Mattapan-
Dorchester line.

"He was executed," Julio ­Batista, Ross Batista's father, said at his estranged wife's home in Roxbury Monday. "There was no chance for him to survive those wounds."

Batista's death remains ­under investigation by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. ­Conley's office. In a statement Sunday, Conley promised "a full and impartial investigation'' into­ the use of deadly force by Boston police. No new details about the shooting were released Monday. Autopsy results were pending.


The shooting was the 10th involving a Boston police officer since 2008 and the third fatal incident investigated by the district attorney's office, according to authorities. In the prior fatal shootings, officers were cleared of wrongdoing.

On Sunday, officers responded "to a call for shots fired" about 2 a.m. when, police said in a statement, a man sitting in a vehicle shot at the officers, who fired back. It was the second time officers were on ­Willowwood early Sunday; the first was around 1:24 a.m. for an earlier report of gunshots.

On Monday, Willowwood Street residents said one neighbor typically throws a barbecue this time of year, but something was off Sunday. "This party was different, different people, a lot of cars," a 37-year-old man said while standing in the vestibule of his home, which was pockmarked by two fresh bullets holes. He asked not to be identified.

This year's gathering was more akin to a raucous block party than a backyard barbecue, residents said, with hundreds of people crowding the narrow street.


It was unknown whether Batista had been at the party.

Family members said that Batista had a zeal for life and was determined to make everyone in the room smile. On Monday, there were few laughs ­inside his mother's Roxbury home, where more than a dozen friends and family members gathered.

Melania Batista, 60, the victim's mother, said police had been cavalier in dealing with the family following her son's death.

"No police came to my door to let me know what's going on," she said. "Why? Why? They kill my son while I've been sleeping, and they didn't tell me."

Melania Batista placed the blame for her son's death on Boston police, who, records show, have arrested and ticketed her son numerous times in the past.

According to his Registry of Motor Vehicles driving history, Batista had been prosecuted at least twice for illegal possession of a Class A drug, most recently in 2010. In 2008, Batista pleaded guilty and was given a five-month sentence by US District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro, who also placed him on three years of supervised release. In 2011, Tauro ordered Batista to serve an additional 15 months because of a new arrest.

A memorial for Batista sits near the corner of Willowwood and Ballou Avenue. Standing sentinel amid empty beer bottles were two candles. One honors St. Elias, often prayed to for an end to any injustice. The other honors St. Michael the Archangel, prayed to for protection against all evil and considered the patron saint of police officers.


John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Akilah Johnson can be reached at ajohnson@globe.com.
Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.