A convicted drug trafficker was charged Monday with gunning down a teenage clerk at a South End shop “with no provocation,” authorities said.
Elosko Brown, 27, of Brockton, is accused of shooting Joseph Morante, 19, during a midday robbery of a Tremont Street cellphone store in July, a prosecutor said.
Morante “offered no resistance” when Brown drew his gun shortly after entering the store, said Edmond Zabin, Suffolk County assistant district attorney. Yet Brown shot Morante in the stomach and upper torso, then pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger a third time, Zabin said.
The handgun did not fire, and Morante fled the store, but soon collapsed.
Brown, the only person in the store at the time of the shooting, ran off with some phones and other electronics, Zabin said.
In late September, Boston police released a video of the alleged shooter and asked for the public’s help.
Brown was identified by people who know him, Zabin said in Roxbury District Court.
At the time of his death, Morante had recently received his GED and was engaged to be married. He was recalled as a bright young man with a keen interest in technology and had started work at the South End iWorld Accessories store after training at a branch in East Boston.
Morante, who lived in Revere, had dreamed about having children and raising them in East Boston, his fiancee, Diana Alvarez, told the Globe in August. He hoped to one day open a cellphone business of his own. She could not be reached for comment Monday.
Morante’s relatives, who attended Brown’s arraignment, declined to comment.
Brown was arrested Sunday at his Brockton apartment, according to police.
He was not brought into the courtroom at the request of both defense and prosecution. He entered a plea of not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery and was ordered held without bail. He is due back in court for a probable cause hearing Dec. 17.
Brown had served six months in jail in Maine for drug trafficking and was released in January, officials said. He had previously been convicted of at least one other drug offense, court records show.
He was also charged with carrying a pistol while riding in a cab in 2007, but the charges were dropped when the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled a State Police search of passengers in the taxi was improper.
A friend of Brown’s who attended Monday’s court hearing said he was innocent and police had arrested the wrong man. Brown’s lawyer, Elda James, declined to comment.