Roudy Hendricks, the man killed in a gunfight with police in Dorchester Wednesday, was armed with a handgun and used it to fire on two officers as they approached him, according to officials from the Boston Police Department.
Hendricks, 21, shot at the drug enforcement officers, identified as 24-year veterans Harry Jean and Terry Cotton, said police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca.
“In this case, it’s alleged that Hendricks had a firearm, which was recovered from the scene, pointed it at police officers, and fired several rounds, injuring both of them,’’ Fiandaca said in a written statement.
Fiandaca did not give additional details on the gun and how police tied it to Hendricks.
The gun battle began around 2 p.m. on Dorchester Avenue, near Shepton Street, as the two plainclothes officers were conducting a drug investigation, police said. They saw two men acting suspiciously, and when they approached, one of the men began shooting, authorities said.
The officers returned fire, striking Hendricks, a high school dropout from Urban Science Academy who had been arrested in the past. He was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he later died.
One officer was shot in the leg and the other was grazed in the leg.
The other suspect, described as armed and dangerous but who has not been identified, is still on the loose.
“The public should be careful,’’ said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who pointed out that police have made a concentrated effort searching the Dorchester neighborhood. “This guy is on the run, and he’s desperate.”
Menino called the incident “a drug deal gone bad,’’ but did not elaborate. He urged a crackdown on repeat criminals, saying that too many offenders move easily in and out of the justice system, to the community’s peril.
“I’ve talked to officers about this,’’ Menino said. “It’s a revolving door. [The offenders] go in one door and come out the next day. We have to have a judicial system that deals with this harshly.”
Menino said he visited Jean in the hospital. The mayor said Jean was shot in the calf and was in good spirits. The other officer, Cotton, left the hospital before Menino arrived Wednesday evening, the mayor said.
Fiandaca said the two officers, both released from the hospital by day’s end, are known within the Police Department for their stellar work against street drugs.
In Brockton, a grieving mother described her son, Hendricks, as a churchgoing young man who doted on his 5-year-old nephew and loved basketball. She said he was a respectful person, but followed the wrong crowd.
Deborah Price also said she believes the use of deadly force by Boston police against her son was unjustified.
“He didn’t deserve to die that way,’’ Price said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He was shot down like an animal.”
Price said police told her that the officers were staking out a drug house and that they saw two men who looked suspicious.
“When they [police] got out of the car, the two guys started shooting at them,” Price said. “Roudy was one of those two guys.”
She called her son a “good kid,” but she acknowledged that he had been arrested four times since he was 17. Two of those were for violating terms of his probation by removing an ankle monitoring bracelet.
According to court records and the Boston police Web page, Hendricks was arrested on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition in 2010. In that incident, officers found a cocked and loaded handgun in the back seat of a car he was riding in, a police report said.
But Hendricks was later found not guilty at a trial in Boston Municipal Court.
Records also show that he had a case pending in Dorchester Municipal Court stemming from a Nov. 30, 2012, arrest on charges of driving a stolen car. He almost collided with an unmarked police cruiser on Victory Road in Dorchester and then drove to Mill Street and pulled alongside a curb, a police report said.
Officers following behind drew their guns and ordered Hendricks out of the car. He left the car in drive and it rolled toward the officers and the cruiser, police said. As it did, Hendricks fled.
He was caught as he tried to climb a fence, the report said.
On Thursday, a dozen lit candles marked the Shepton Street site where Hendricks was fatally wounded.
A man who described himself as a close friend stood by and prayed. The two met as boys at the Church of God of Prophecy in Roxbury, where, he said, Hendricks participated in youth service and the annual Christmas play.
“He was a quiet person,” said the friend, who did not give his name. “He did everything he was asked to do.”
According to his mother, Hendricks attended church with her when he was growing up in Dorchester. Although he stopped going to school in 2011 when he was in the 11th grade, Price said, Hendricks was working on getting his GED.
“Roudy grew up in church,” she said. “He was a very respectful kid. You would never hear him say anything bad to an adult.
“Anything he got into wasn’t because he was a leader; he was a follower. He chose the wrong people and made bad decisions.’’
She said her son loved to deejay and recently learned that his girlfriend was pregnant. She said that Hendricks was part of a large extended family and that his death has shaken them all.
“He was a very good kid,’’ she said. “He had a huge family. We are all going to miss him.”
John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Colin A. Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung. Meghan Irons can be reached at mirons@
globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.