Dorchester man, 19, is city’s first homicide of 2017

New father shot multiple times at Orchard Gardens housing development in Roxbury

Khisean Desvarieux was fatally shot at Orchard Gardens housing development in Roxbury on Monday night.

A 19-year-old Dorchester father became Boston’s first homicide victim of 2017, after he was shot to death Monday near a community center in the Orchard Gardens housing development in Roxbury, according to police and loved ones.

“He’s a very good kid,” said Tamara Upshaw, the mother of the victim, Khisean Desvarieux. As she spoke, her son’s baby boy played at her feet. “Senseless.”

The shooting occurred on Dearborn Street at around 7:27 p.m. Monday, near a community center that houses the Boys & Girls Club’s Orchard Gardens Club. Witnesses, all of whom declined to give their names for fear of retaliation, said they heard about five shots. One man said it sounded “like the 4th of July.” Because it was dark, witnesses said, they were unable to see the shooter.


Desvarieux was rushed to a Boston hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said. No information about a possible motive was available Tuesday night, and no arrests had been made

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“Shocked. Unbelievable,” said Natalie Watkins, a friend of family of the victim, who she described as a good young man and a proud new dad. Officials have not named the victim, but his family identified him.

Watkins, whose grandson grew up playing with Desvarieux, said she heard the shots from her nearby apartment but had no idea that the victim was the young man she watched play video games and go to the playground.

She had run into Desvarieux last year at a sub shop, she said. He had ducked inside to talk to her, beaming, she said.

“I just became a dad,” he told her, she recalled. He was excited as he talked about his little boy.


On Tuesday afternoon, Desvarieux’s family struggled with the shock of his death. His mother spoke only briefly, saying in a quiet voice that she could not bear to talk about his death. She knew only that he had been shot twice, she said. His son, who is named for him, will turn 1 this month.

The shooting shook residents of the Orchard Gardens complex.

“It has a domino effect on everyone in the neighborhood,” said one woman, who declined to give her name. She heard the shots, she said, and prayed it wasn’t someone in the complex.

“It’s devastating,” she said.

The community center is a popular spot for area children, she said.


The neighborhood is filled with kids, the elderly, and people just trying to get to and from work. The violence is upsetting, she said, and many famlies suffer.

Citywide, during the first 10 days of the new year, police have responded to one nonfatal shooting and three nonfatal stabbings.

Police are asking for community members with any information on the shooting to call the homicide detectives at (617) 343-4470.