Desmond Joseph was with his newborn daughter, loading formula and a stroller into the trunk of a car, when the shots rang out on Telford Street in Brighton Thursday night. When neighbors and bystanders rushed from their homes, Joseph’s girlfriend was distraught and the 3-month-old baby was wailing.
“He was only putting my carriage away! Why’d they do that?” the girlfriend was heard saying, according to Madeline Ortiz, 51, who went onto the street after the shooting. “Why would you do that when you’re picking up a baby?”
Joseph, 30, lay on the ground, a pool of blood spreading under his head, a witness said. He died of his injuries. Witnesses said the shooter ran through an adjacent Star Market parking lot toward Western Avenue, according to police. No arrests have been made, said police spokesman Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, and the investigation is “active and ongoing.”
The killing was not random, said Officer Rachel McGuire.
The shooting Thursday occurred just before midnight, and Joseph’s relatives arrived shortly afterward. Police have not officially identified Joseph, but a family member confirmed his identity. His mother and grandmother declined to speak further.
A man who lives on Telford Street and declined to give his name said he was awoken by three gunshots, and when he looked outside, he saw a man lying in the street, bleeding. The trunk of the car parked next to him was open, and a woman was screaming.
“She was yelling, crying, ‘Help! Help! Help!’ It was so sad,” he said. He could see a baby in the car. The area surrounding Telford Street includes a shopping plaza and a residential complex called Charlesview Residences.
“I never think that’s going to happen around here,” the man said. “This is a nice quiet neighborhood.”
Ortiz said she was shocked to realize the victim was Joseph, who, she said, grew up in her former neighborhood in Boston and was friends with her son.
“I said, ‘No! No! No! You’re kidding me. I know him,’ ” Ortiz said.
She said her son told her that Joseph had been in the Commonwealth public housing development where he grew up in Brighton before heading to Telford Street Thursday. Her son, Ortiz said, rapped with Joseph and was inconsolable Friday.
“They killed my friend, Mommy. They killed my friend,” Ortiz said her son told her.
She said she met Joseph when he was a teenager.
“He was a good kid, man. God bless his soul. He was a good kid, had lots of friends. I don’t understand,” Ortiz said.
She said another one of her sons, Giovanni Ortiz, 25, was fatally shot in the chest on Linden Street in 2008. He left a son, who is now 7 years old.
“Crazy,” she said of the Telford Street killing. “It happened so fast.”
Joseph was known to police, officials said. Suffolk Superior Court records show he was charged with armed assault with intent to murder in 2005, after he allegedly shot a man in the neck after a party in Allston, leaving him a quadriplegic.
His attorney successfully argued for the case to be dismissed in 2007 after a witness who identified Joseph as the shooter could not be located to testify at his trial, court records show.
In the Brighton neighborhood where Joseph grew up, mourners stopped by his grandparents’ home Friday to pay their respects.
One of their neighbors, Tito Domneck, said the victim was trying to be a rapper.
He said he learned about the shooting on the news.
“I didn’t think it was him,” Domneck said. “He’s a peaceful guy. He liked peace.”
Astead W. Herndon of the Globe staff contributed to this report.