Inside the Dorchester district courtroom, relatives of Raekwon Brown struggled to catch a glimpse of the two men being charged with fatally shooting the 17-year-old Jeremiah E. Burke High School student.
Benzy Bain, 24, of Mattapan and Jonathan M. Aguasvivas, 23, of Roxbury were shielded from public view during the brief hearing Wednesday, leading one family member to call them “cowards.”
Brown’s sister, Latasha Allen, 31, said she and her family badly wanted to see the accused men’s faces and to ask: Why?
“He didn’t do nothing,” she said outside the courthouse. “He was a good kid. . . . We all miss him and love him very much.”
During the hearing, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney David Fredette did not describe a motive for the 1 p.m. June 8 shooting near the Burke School, nor did he identify which of the two men allegedly fired the shots that killed Brown on Washington Street. Two other teens, ages 16 and 17, one of whom was Brown’s cousin, were injured and taken to hospitals; a fourth victim, a 67-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Fredette said investigators have tracked down and reviewed 100 hours of surveillance video that linked Bain and Aguasvivas to Brown’s death. Lawyers for both men said their clients were not involved in the shooting.
Fredette said both men have served identical sentences — three years and one day in state prison — on firearms convictions.
Aguasvivas, according to law enforcement officials, was also in a car with Angelo West when West shot Boston Police Officer John Moynihan point-blank in the face in March 2015, an attack that Moynihan survived. West was shot to death by Boston police officers in what Suffolk prosecutors concluded was a justified use of deadly force.
Aguasvivas was not charged in that case.
Court records show Aguasvivas was charged in Suffolk Superior Court in 2011 for illegal gun possession after a firearm was found in a vehicle that he was in with three other men.
He pleaded guilty in 2013 and was sentenced to two years of probation, which was set to end Monday. He had been scheduled to appear in court on that case Friday.
Court documents describe Aguasvivas as a “known member” of a gang, who had a history of domestic violence arrests.
Bain was indicted in February 2013 on a gun charge. He pleaded guilty in July of that year and was given credit for 182 days he spent in jail awaiting trial.
As a condition of probation in that case, Bain was ordered to stay away from five men, including two who associated with Aguasvivas. Those two men were in the same vehicle Aguasvivas was in when police arrested him on firearm charges in 2011.
But Bain violated his probation when he contacted one of those men and after he had fallen three months behind on his probation supervision fee. Bain was instructed to surrender Friday. A warrant for violating probation was outstanding at the time of his arrest for Brown’s murder, court records show.
Aguasvivas and Bain were ordered held without bail during Wednesday’s hearing.
Allen, Brown’s sister, said police called her mother Wednesday morning and told her the men had been arrested at 5 a.m. Her mother was elated, she said.
But Allen said the arrests will not bring her brother back.
“There’s no justice just because they got somebody and they’re in custody — because my little brother is still dead,” she said after the hearing. “They killed my little brother for no reason. My heart’s empty; my mother’s heart is empty.”
Bain’s attorney, James Greenberg, said his client insists he was not involved in the shooting that caused Brown’s death.
“My client adamantly denies” any role in Brown’s death, he said.
Aguasvivas’ attorney, Brian A. Kelley, said he had just been appointed and had no information about the case. “Everyone recognizes this is a tragedy, but why are these two young men under arrest? We don’t know.”
Officials said more charges could be forthcoming in the case. In a joint statement, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said investigators had done painstaking work over the last two weeks but were not yet finished.
“These arrests mark a step toward justice for Raekwon’s family, but it is not the last step,” Conley said. “We will not rest until those responsible for his homicide have been held to account for it.”
Evans said those responsible for the shooting showed “absolute disregard for the safety and well-being of every person living or working in that neighborhood.”
Students at Jeremiah E. Burke High School greeted news of the arrests with cautious relief, and said they were hopeful there might be justice for Brown.
“I feel like he can rest in peace now, but he’s resting in peace for no reason because he got his life taken away for somebody else’s selfish reasons,” said Carida Pizarro, 17, who said she and Brown had dated. “It makes me happy that they know who did it, that his family is getting justice. But at the same time, I still lost a friend; his mother lost her baby.”
Students said they were glad that suspects had been caught but were doubtful the arrests would prevent future violence.
Daavon Holiday, 17, a friend of Brown’s, also said he was afraid to go to school in the days after the shooting. Even the increased police presence did little to ease his fears.
“Regardless of whether there are police or not, people can still get shot,” he said.
Evan Allen and Vivian Wang contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Jan Ransom can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Jan_Ransom.