An 8-year-old girl was hit with fragments of a bullet when at least one person drove by a Jamaica Plain street around midnight and shot 15 rounds, according to Boston police.
The girl, who was hit with fragments in her shoulder and grazed by another fragment on her side, was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday, according to Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans.
He said given the number of rounds fired, officers feel it was lucky the injuries were not worse.
“We’re very fortunate. We could be talking about a young, 8-year-old child being buried,” he told reporters outside the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association Union Hall on Sunday. “But again, everyone has to step up. I know issues like this really wake people up. The whole community’s got to work with us.”
Officers responded shortly after midnight to reports that someone had been shot on Heath Street, Evans said.
The girl’s mother told police that she and the child were outside with a group of people when they heard gunfire and ran home, said Officer Stephen McNulty, a Boston police spokesman, in an e-mail.
Officers have not released a description of any suspects, but Evans said a dark gray Infiniti vehicle was seen fleeing the scene after the shooting.
He urged anyone with information about the vehicle or the shooting, to call the Boston police tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS.
The girl’s mother was standing in front of the doorway to her boyfriend’s apartment, using a hose to remove blue marker from the concrete outside when the shots rang out, said the boyfriend, Mariano Caribe, 55. He said he was sweeping the run-off into a drain. The girl had been drawing on the concrete with the marker shortly before the shooting.
Caribe said he watched his girlfriend grab the girl and pull her into his home.
He heard the girl yell: “I got shot! I got shot!”
Two bullets hit the doorway, and one nearly went clean through the door, he said. Her family called 911.
Sunday morning outside of his apartment, Caribe said the girl was doing well. He was waiting for updates from his girlfriend, who was with her daughter at the hospital, he said.
“I’ve known her for five years,” Caribe said of his girlfriend. “She’s a good mom. She’s always putting her kids first. I love that. Sometimes she fights with anyone if they mess around with the kids.”
He described the 8-year-old as a regular kid who goes to the Hennigan School down the street with her 7-year-old brother. She always plays and rides her bike, he said.
Sunday morning, neighbors who live in the area did not want to give their names but said this was the third shooting in about a year. They pointed at a bullet casing in the grass. Many said they wish security cameras would be installed to make them feel safer.
Boston police have been taking note of the violence in the Heath Street area and picking up their security in the area, Evans said. A 15-year-old was grazed by a bullet there last week, he saId.
“It’s alarming, and hopefully it’s a wake-up call,” he said. “We’ve got about 10 more weeks to go in the summer. I’m just praying that it’s a quiet, peaceful summer.”
Evans said many neighbors were likely gathering outside to escape the heat inside their homes Saturday night and enjoying the summer night.
“The young kids are running around having a good time. They shouldn’t be fearful of being shot, and that’s the challenge we have as a community to make sure this doesn’t happen again and our kids are safe,” he said. “This shouldn’t happen.”
It was one of two overnight shootings in Boston early Sunday morning.
Not long after the girl was shot, officers responded to a separate report around 12:30 a.m., of a person shot on Bragdon Street in Roxbury, McNulty said.
They discovered a 24-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound, he said.
The man told officers he had been entering his building when he heard gunfire and was struck, but was not able to provide police with a description of a suspect, McNulty said.
The man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, he said.
Both shootings remain under investigation and no arrests have been made, McNulty said.
Evans said officers do not believe the shootings are connected.