Metro

Wrongful death suit alleges ‘veneer’ of security at South Boston condo where doctors were slain

A view of the building where two doctors were killed in May.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

A view of the building where two doctors were killed in May.

A lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a security guard working at the front desk where two South Boston doctors were killed took about 20 minutes to dial 911 after receiving a call raising the possibility there was a gunman in their condominium.

The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, raises a number of questions about safety at the luxury building, including allegations that the intruder was able to enter through an opened garage door and escaped detection by a security camera.

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The alleged security lapses allowed Bampumim Teixeira, who had previously worked at the luxury Macallen Building, to enter the condo and hold Richard Field and Lina Bolaños hostage before killing them, the suit says.

On the evening of May 5, police found the doctors’ bodies in their condo, with their hands bound and throats slit. Teixeira, a 30-year-old Chelsea man who had worked for the building’s previous security company, was shot and wounded by police. The prosecutor suggested at the arraignment that the motive was “in part” robbery.

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Robert Pierce, the lawyer representing the victims’ loved ones, said the families and friends of Field and Bolaños want the doctors remembered for the friendships they formed and the bonds they had with their patients, not the way they died.

“The tragedy is you have a very high-end building . . . that has the look of a secure building but clearly is not,” Pierce said in an interview.

“How [Teixeira] got onto the 11th floor is still not known, but it should not have happened. And if [the building] had adequate protection and security, this wouldn’t have happened,” he added.

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Laying out a timeline for the events of May 5, the complaint alleges that Teixeira was seen “lurking outside” the Macallen Building before 3 p.m. and entered the building through the garage around 3:50 p.m.

“Despite the appearance of operating a secure property, in fact, the defendants provided virtually no security for its residents whatsoever,” the complaint said. “For example, one can enter the garage with ease by simply walking from the street when the garage door is opened by a resident who is either entering or leaving the [b]uilding’s garage in their vehicle.”

And while there is a camera directed at the garage doors, the feed is only viewable in real time by a front desk security guard who has other responsibilities besides monitoring it, the complaint alleges.

Meanwhile, the staircase that provides access to all floors was not locked that day, according to the complaint.

Field texted a friend at about 7:46 p.m., indicating that a gunman was in his condo, but the recipient did not see the text until about 8:15 p.m.

The recipient’s friend called the front desk of the building and implored a security guard — an employee of Highbridge Concierge, the company that took over the building’s security earlier this year — to check on Field and Bolaños, the complaint alleges.

But “sometime later,” the recipient’s friend called the same security guard, who said that he had not gone to the unit and was still checking his notes.

Around 8:38 p.m., the caller and the security guard both called 911.

When Boston police arrived, officers found the doctors had been killed. Believing the intruder had a gun, police fired on him and he was shot twice.

The Macallen Building had advertised 24-hour concierge and security services, the complaint alleges. Field purchased the 11th-floor unit in 2013 for $1,945,000.

Teixeira became an employee of Palladion Services, a concierge and security company, in October 2015, and worked for Palladion at the Macallen Building “for a period of time,” according to the complaint.

“Because of his training with Palladion, Teixeira was fully familiar with the layout of the [b]uilding, and was also aware that there was virtually no meaningful security for the residents,” the complaint stated.

At the time he was hired by Palladion, Teixeira had already robbed a downtown Boston branch of Citizens Bank in August 2014. He robbed the bank again in June 2016. (He was not charged in the 2014 incident until 2016, the year after he was hired by Palladion.)

Police contacted Palladion based on a statement by a former co-worker who recognized Teixeira from bank surveillance photos. Palladion vice president Paul Chicarello pulled a file and identified Teixeira as the suspect from the photos, leading to his arrest, the Globe previously reported.

Teixeira pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the Suffolk County House of Correction. According to the complaint, he was released around March or April 2017.

In early 2017, Highbridge Concierge took over the Macallen Building’s security services, according to the complaint. But Palladion, the company that hired Teixeira, never notified the building’s new security company, management, or owners of Teixeira’s troubled past, despite the security implications, the lawsuit alleges.

However, Palladion, the building’s former security company, said his background and reference checks came up clean when they hired him — Texeria did not confess to the first robbery until 2016, after he was employed.

In a statement, Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Palladion, said the business wasn’t informed about the wrongful death suit before it was filed and does not comment on pending litigation.

In addition to Palladion, the lawsuit names Bayberry Management company, which manages the building, Highbridge Security, and the Court Square Press Building Condominium Trust, which owns the building.

Patrick Knight, the founder of Highbridge Concierge, the building’s current security company, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

An attorney for the Court Square Press Building Condominum Trust said in a statement that the group continues to be saddened by the “tragic, terrible” murders, but that the lawsuit is “unfortunate.”

“As has been previously noted (including by the Boston police), the building has a long record of being a safe and secure home for nearly 300 families,” said Michael Gallagher, attorney for the trust, in the statement. “. . . In short, the facts seem to be that this was a targeted crime by a person bent on doing great harm to these particular individuals.”

The 11-page complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court seeks a jury trial on 12 counts against Palladion, Highbridge, Bayberry, and the trust — one each for wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering, and negligence. The complaint does not specify an amount, but requests “all damages available” under the state’s wrongful death statute.

Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com. Nicole Fleming can be reached at nicole.fleming@globe.com.
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